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Thomas Phaer 


The Boke ofChyldren (1544) 

Thomas Phaer 


The Boke ofChyldren (1544) 

cneDievA^L & ReMAissAwce 
TexTS & STuDies 

Volume 201 

Thomas Phaer 


The Boke ofChyldren (1544) 


Rick Bowers 

Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies 

Tempe, Arizona 


The photograph on page xii is reproduced by the permission of 
the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. 

® Copyright 1999 
Arizona Board of Regents for Arizona State University 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Bowers, Rick. 

Thomas Phaer and The boke of chyldren (1544) / by Rick Bowers, 
p. cm. — (Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies ; vol. 201) 
Includes bibliographical references. 
ISBN 0-86698-243-4 (alk. paper) 

1. Phayer, Thomas, 1510P-1560. Boke of chyldren. 2. Pediatrics— Early 
works to 1800. I. Phayer, Thomas, 1510.>-1560. Boke of chyldren. II. Title. 
III. Series: Medieval & Renaissance texts & studies (Series) ; v. 201. 
RJ44.B69 1999 

618.92-dc21 98-53175 



This book is made to last. 

It is set in Garamond, 

smythe-sewn and printed on acid-free paper 

to library specifications. 

Printed in the United States of America 

To my wife Katherine 


Preface ^^ 

Abbreviations xi 

Photograph of Copy Text xii 


The Author 1 

The Text 10 

The Preface to The Boke ofChyldren 27 

The Boke of Chyldren 31 

Textual Notes 79 

Glossary of Authors 83 

Glossary of Medicinal Herbs and Plants 87 

Works Cited 97 


Thomas Phaer's The Boke ofChyldren (1544) is the first EngHsh book on 
pediatrics. The text, written in EngUsh for an EngHsh readership, popu- 
larizes and communicates medicine in a radically new way: by stressing 
the importance of the vernacular, and by considering children as mater- 
ial, medical subjects requiring specialized health care. Contemporary fo- 
cus stressed catechismal training or ignored children altogether as neg- 
ligible, unformed adults. Extremely high infant mortality combined 
with death from early childhood diseases and general epidemic threat to 
ensure children an emotionally-distanced place in early modern English 
society. Poised between folk beliefs and a rudimentary empiricism, 
Phaer's book, which enjoyed multiple reprintings throughout the last 
half of the sixteenth century, attempts to close that distance. 

Anyone coming in contact with this little medical tract stresses its 
importance and singularity. In 1925, John Ruhrah declared Phaer "the 
Father of English Pediatrics," adding, "the first book on pediatrics 
printed in English should not be permitted to remain a curiosity, known 
only to medical bibliophiles and doubtless not even to many of them" 
(147). Yet the only modern edition of The Boke ofChyldren (Neale and 
Wallis 1955) presents the book as just such a curiosity by merely repro- 
ducing the 1553 imprint, unaware of the first edition of 1544 buried in 
Jehan Goeurot's The Regiment of Life and ignoring all other editions of 
the period. A facsimile text issued in 1976 in the English Experience ser- 
ies (No. 802) merely reprints the second edition of Goeurot*s book with 
no introduction or textual apparatus whatsoever. 

The Boke of Children first appears in The Regiment of Life {STC 11967; 
London, 1544), the only extant copy of which is located at the Hunting- 
ton Library, San Marino, California. STC vol. 2 notes another copy in 
the Library of the Royal College of Physicians of London, but the attri- 
bution is in error. (See Textual Notes, 79.) 

My annotated text of The Boke of Chyldren, based on the unique 
copy in the Huntington Library, is lightly modernized in order to facili- 


tate readinjg. Throughout, I have regularized all i/j and u/v reversals as 
well as the use of long s. I have also consistently regularized use of 
"then/than/' "see/se," and "too/to." Proper nouns have been consis- 
tently capitalized. Archaic contractions have been expanded and amper- 
sands spelled out. Although I have modernized punctuation, I have 
avoided wholesale modernization in order to retain the archaic charm of 
Phaer*s prose. All exemplars have been collated with notes concerning 
basic meanings and textual notes on editorial choices gathered at the 
conclusion. Separate glossaries of historical names and medicinal herbs 
provide easy reference. 

A critical introduction presents the fullest biographical account of 
Thomas Phaer (parts of which appeared previously in Notes and Queries 
239 and Renaissance and Reformation 21) in addition to critical ground- 
ing in medical history and cultural communication. The Boke of Chyl- 
dren deserves reconsideration both as an early example of English prose 
style and as historicized medical development. By lightly modernizing 
the text, I hope to stay true to Phaer's own populist mandate, as he him- 
self puts it in his preface: "to shewe the remedyes that God hath created 
for the use of man to distrybute in Englysshe to them that are 
unlerned" (27). 

This project, for the learned and "unlerned," took initial shape 
during the term of a study leave at the University of Alberta 1993/94. 


CJ Journals of the House of Commons 

CPR Calendar of Patent Rolls 

OED The Oxford English Dictionary 

STC Short Title Catalogue of English Books 1475-1640 (2nd ed.) 

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pics ag of ri>c genc:; 


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ofHttof^mv tf^Vf^iOt^ctfon^tvemc 

7^e 5o^e ofChyldren (1544) 


The Author 

A hundred years after his death in August 1560, Thomas Phaer was still 
remembered as "a person of a mutable mind" (Wood 315). Scientist, 
classicist, physician, legal theorist, member of Parliament, and general 
man of letters, Phaer certainly followed a varied and nontraditional 
career pattern. Put simply, he was a Renaissance polymath. And all his 
endeavors in medicine, art, law, and classical learning were linked by a 
reliance — even an insistence— on English as his preferred mode of schol- 
arly communication. 

His publications are socially conscious and purposely English, includ- 
ing an early translation of The Aeneid (that key text of British etiology), 
English legal texts, a popular translation of the French medical text en- 
titled The Regiment of Life, and most especially his own— and England's 
first— pediatrics text, TheBoke ofChyldren (1544), wherein Phaer rhetori- 
cally demands: 

Why grutche they [Latinist physicians] phisik to come forth in Eng- 
lysshe? wolde they have no man to knowe but onely they? (27). 

Clearly, Phaer's mission is to popularize pediatric care and inform his 
fellow citizens of health care issues specific to the treatment of children. 
English, not Latin, is the language proper to informing English parents. 
Phaer probably felt licensed in his critique of Latin by Sir Thomas 
Elyot's defense of vernacular English a few years earlier in The Castel of 
Helth: "But if phisitions be angry, that I have wryten phisike in eng- 
lyshe, let theym remembre that the grekes wrate in greke, the Romanes 
in latyne, Avicena and the other in Arabike, whiche were their owne 
propre and maternal tonges" (A4v). Phaer rehearses a similar line of 
argument in his own preface to The Boke ofChyldren. Such cultural spe- 
cificity played well in England in the first half of the sixteenth century, 
a period which had seen popular translation of Scripture into English by 


Tyndale and Coverdale in 1525 and 1535 respectively, and had also ex- 
perienced the rigorous social consolidation of the realm under Henry 
VIII as a religious and cultural entity detached from continental Europe. 
Thomas Phaer presents himself as very much a middle-class Tudor 
man of a conservative temperament with distinctive scholarly abilities, 
strongly-conceived public responsibilities, and information to share. Yet 
little is known for sure about his early life. He seems to have been born 
in Norwich sometime in 1510 or thereabouts, and was educated at Ox- 
ford University and at Lincoln's Inn. His early residence in the house- 
hold of William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester, no doubt helped 
his career advancement in law and politics and may have secured for 
him his appointment as solicitor to the council of the Marches of Wales. 
Phaer says nearly as much in his dedication to Queen Mary of the first 
seven books of the ''Eneidos of Virgill^'' printed in 1558: "I have been 
preferred to your service by your right noble and faithfull counsailour 
Willyam lorde Marqueis of Winchester, my firste brynger up and pat- 
rone" (A2r). Phaer seems to have first appeared in print some twenty 
years earlier with the publication of a legal text entitled Natura Brevium, 
Newly Corrected in Englysshe (1530?). His name, at least, has always been 
popularly associated with this otherwise anonymous volume, the STC 
according him the status of translator. This he followed with a compre- 
hensive formula book of legal documents and precedents entitled A 
Newe Boke of Presidentes (1543), concluding his preface with a nod in the 
direction of the vernacular and with a distinct consciousness about the 
education of children: 

And therfore is it compounded both in English and in Latyne, to 
the intent it may be the easelyer taken and perceyved of them 
that are but meanely learned in the Latyne tonge, and also for 
suche as wyll applye theyr chyldren to the readynge and under- 
standyng of common evydences and wrytynges. Wherin I beseche 
God that they maye procede both to theyr owne commodytie, 
and profyte of theyr poore neyghbours (A2v). 

This accessible text was so popular that it went through twenty-seven 
editions to 1656 and was used by the great Elizabethan jurist Thomas 
Egerton when he was a student at Lincoln's Inn (Jones 63-64). Certain- 
ly Phaer's legal expertise prepared him for a career on the bench and in 
parliament even though Fuller contends that "the Study of the Law did 
not fadge well with him, which caused him to change his copy, and pro- 
ceed Doctor in Physick" (12). In fact Phaer combined his professional 


intellectual pursuits within a social concern that would move him into 
medical publication and active political involvement. 

Indeed the year 1544 saw his translation of Jehan Goeurot's medical 
compendium The Regiment of Life out of French and into the company 
of Phaer's own medical efforts: A Goodly Bryefe Treatyse of the Pestylence, 
A Declaration of the Veynes, and The Boke of Chyldren. The octavo, con- 
taining all four titles, was printed in London by Edward Whytchurche, 
and exists today in a single copy at the Huntington Library in San 
Marino, California. Phaer's was clearly a populist mission of education 
and concern, picking up where Latin authorities had left off, as set forth 
in the preface to his treatise on pestilence: 

This disease when it ones beginneth enfecteth none so moche as 
the common people, among whom it is not gyven to al men to 
understande the forsayd volumes, yf they had them present, 
moch lesse can they get theyr health by theyr owne ymagina- 
cions or experimentes, specially when almost no phisition wyll 
vouchesafe to visite any suche infected of the common sorte (so 
great is the daunger of this cruell syckenes) by reason wherof the 
pacientes cast themselves oftentymes into despeyre (L6v). 

Combine this with Phaer's avowed purpose in The Boke of Chyldren, "to 
do them good that have moost nede" (27), and one begins to detect a 
real sense of medical compassion, public spirit, and social responsibility 
in this particular author. 

Medical historian John Ruhrah calls Phaer the "Father of English 
Pediatrics" (147), and modern Eneidos editor Steven Lally refers to him 
as "a humanist and avant-garde scientific mind" (xiv). Phaer's human- 
ism, however, was not the academic variety of intellectuals such as Eras- 
mus, John Colet, or a whole new class of theoretical Protestant divines. 
Instead he was publicly engaged, was busy in the day-to-day practice of 
law and medicine and as public representative and government agent. In- 
deed Phaer eschews classical academic debate in itself to present an inter- 
ventionist public stance, a stance of populist social concern especially for 
children. Can it be a complete coincidence that in 1547, during Phaer's 
first term as member of Parliament for Carmarthen Boroughs, a bill 
"for the nursing of Children in Wales" {CJ 1. 3, 4) should be intro- 
duced? Likewise, that William Turner, author of the first English-lan- 
guage herbal, and Thomas Phaer, author of the first English-language 
pediatrics text, both sat as Members of Parliament in the 1547 session of 
the House of Commons (Bindoff 3: 102, 490).> 


Phaer served four terms under three rrionarchs as an MP from Wales, 
representing first Carmarthen Boroughs in 1547 before being returned 
from Cardigan Boroughs in 1555, 1558, and 1559. A fortunate marriage 
to widow Anne Revell no doubt aided him in taking a 21 -year lease of 
demesne lands of the lordship of Cilgerran in November 1549. From 
this point on, Phaer made his permanent address in the forest of Cilger- 
ran. This would be his home constituency. His leased property over- 
lapped into Pembrokeshire, but Phaer was considered a Cardiganshire 
resident. His residence and prominence no doubt explain his nomination 
as sheriff for the region in 1552. Although another name was "pricked 
by the king as chosen" {CPR 1553, 387), Phaer went on to serve the 
region in a variety of official capacities. And yet he seems to have been 
less than sanguine about his constituency, to judge by the citation in 
Bindoff s The House of Commons 1509-1558-. 

Cardiganshire was enlarged and consolidated at the Union. 
Thomas Phaer described it as "very bare . . . and mountainous, all 
along the coast no trade of merchandise but all full of rocks and 
dangers." The few roads were unmetalled and travellers were 
vexed by bandits who the president of the council in the marches 
thought had the support of the local gentry (1: 271). 

Clearly this country doctor was in touch with his rural environment, 
even though such a relatively remote location would be unusual for a 
medical writer of the early Renaissance when most authoritative physi- 
cians lived either in London or in one of the university towns. 

Throughout the 1550s Phaer served publicly as steward of Cilgerran 
and constable of the castle there, as crown searcher and customs officer 
in the port of Milford Haven, as solicitor to the council in the marches 
of Wales, and as Justice of the Peace for Cardiganshire. He would be 
well remunerated for these official duties, while a position in coastal 
customs would ensure an almost unlimited opportunity for graft. Yet 
Phaer seems to have been trusted throughout. On orders from the Mar- 
quess of Winchester, he prepared a report on harbors and customs ad- 
ministration in Wales, a report enrolled after his death on Queen Eliza- 
beth's memoranda roll for Hilary term 1562 (Bindoff 3: 103). Although 
a loyal public servant under Queen Mary, Phaer enjoyed the trust of 
Elizabeth Vs new administration as well, and his name is listed on the 
Pardon roll for the first year of Elizabeth's reign: "Thomas Phaer late of 
Kylgerran, co. Pembroke, alias M.D." (CPR 1558-60, 203). His inclusion 
is a formality— but an obligatory one for anybody seeking government 
commission or public trust. 


This lawyer, physician, and pubHc administrator also had literary 
projects underway, and it is perhaps through his early translation of The 
Aeneid that he is best known. Other translators such as Gavin Douglas, 
the Earl of Surrey, and Richard Stanyhurst had offered the poem in 
English, but Phaer's Eneidos, completed by Thomas Twyne and running 
to unprecedented multiple editions, can rightly be called "the Aeneid of 
the English Renaissance" (Lally xii). Certainly Phaer was the first Eng- 
lishman to attempt a translation of the entire epic, although his death 
prevented him from seeing the project to its conclusion. Keeping close 
account of time he spent translating, Phaer began his Eneidos on May 9, 
1555, and averaged about twenty days work per book, work which he 
considered to' be, in his words, *'my pastyme in all my vacations" (1558, 
A2r). He published The seven first hookes of the Eneidos ofVirgill in 1558, 
followed by an edition of the first nine books after his death, brought 
out in 1562 by fellow MP William Wightman. It wasn't until 1584 that 
the entire Eneidos was completed by Twyne, but Phaer's nationalist per- 
spective on the English language is in evidence from the very first, de- 
claring his Virgil to be a "defence of my countrey language which I have 
heard discommended of many, and estemyd of some to bee more than 
barbarous" [Eneidos 1558, X2r). 

If Phaer seems a bit truculent on the topic of his Englishness, bear in 
mind that his legal training no doubt groomed his balanced instinct for 
redress. In fact, his first published poem took the form of a defense, 
appearing as preface to Peter Betham's translation of Jacopo di Porcia's 
The Preceptes of Warre (1544). The text's printer, Edward Whytchurche, 
had brought out Phaer 's Newe Boke of Presidentes the year before, and 
was probably preparing the Regiment of Life compendium for the press 
at the same time as he was printing Betham's work. In any case, Phaer's 
rhyme royal stanza for The Preceptes of Warre was as vaguely donnish as 
suggestive for a man embarking on a life of politics and publication: 

Chyefest is peace, but yf by extremitye 

Thou be enforced to fyght for thyne owne, 

Learne here the science and actes of chyvaldrye, 

Pollicies, and privities, to many men unknowen: 

Wherby thyne enemyes may be overthrowen. 

In suche a necessitie shalt thou never fynde 

Suche an other treasure: kepe it wel in minde. (A7v) 

A man who would thrive publicly under the Tudor administrations of 
mid-sixteenth-century England had better be politic, defensive, and clear- 
headed about the precepts of debate, civic struggle, and conflict. 


At about the same time as Phaer was preparing his Eneidos, he also 
contributed a poetic piece on Owen Glendower to The Mirror for Magis- 
trates compendium. Entitled "Howe Owen Glendour seduced by false 
prophesies tooke upon him to be prince of Wales," this cautionary 
moral poem contains thirty-four verses which are vaguely Spenserian in 
form. Phaer was associated in this effort with contributors George 
Ferrers and Sir Thomas Chaloner, fellow MPs. He also knew the Mirror 
compiler, William Baldwin, through Edward Whytchurche in whose 
printing house Baldwin had worked. The 1578 edition of the Mirror 
even contains William Baldwin's note of light editorial facetiousness at 
the conclusion of Phaer 's poem: "Whan mayster Phaer had ended the 
Tragedy of thys hunger starven Prynce of Wales, it was well liked of all 
the company that a Saxon would speake so mutch for a Brytton, then 
sodenly one found** (Campbell 131). Phaer, however, although born a 
"Saxon," was now a Welsh resident and had represented his region pub- 
licly for years. He clearly had gained an adopted "Welshness" about 
himself, a cultural capacity that set him apart and perhaps aided his 
reputation for poetry. 

And his poetic ability was clearly recognized, as noted by Anthony 
a Wood: "he was much famed among the academians for his sufficien- 
cies in the art of poetry" (316). Indeed, nearly thirty years after Phaer's 
death, no less an authority than George Puttenham, in The Arte of Eng- 
lish Poesie (1589), looked back a generation in considering ^'the most com- 
mended writers in our English Poesie, ^^ and declared: "In Queenes Maries 
time florished above any other Doctour Phaer one that was well learned 
and excellently well translated into English verse Heroicall certaine 
bookes of Virgils ^neidos" (73, 75). Arthur Hall, too, some eight years 
earlier opened his translation of Homer with a dedication wherein he con- 
fesses to prolonged scholarly torpor and mental disquiet, claiming, however, 
with some feeling that it was Phaer who finally stimulated him: 

But when I lighted on M. Thomas Phaers Virgilian Englishe, quoth 
/, what have I donef am I become senslesse, to travaile to be laughed 
aty to presume^ and to be scorned^ and to put forth my selfe and not 
to be received: for I was so abashed looking upon M. Phaers Heroi- 
call Virgin, and my Satiricall Homer, as I cried out, envying Vir- 
gils prosperitie (A3v). 

Consider also the preface of Thomas Nashe to Robert Greene's romance 
narrative, Menaphon (1589). Nashe, with characteristic enthusiasm, in- 
veighed against pretences to learning in general, itemizing by contrast 


distinguished literary figures, Phaer among them: 

Master Phaer likewise is not to be forgot in regard of his famous 
Virgil, whose heavenly verse had it not bin blemisht by his 
hautie thoghts England might have long insulted in his wit, and 
corrigat qui potest have been subscribed to his workes (6. 20). 

Clearly, it was difficult to improve on Phaer in his own time, his repu- 
tation for "hautie thoghts" perhaps suggesting the extent of his wide- 
ranging authority and self-confidence. In any case, reprints of Phaer's 
publications carried on well into the next century. 

Renowned as a physician, author and legislator, Thomas Phaer seems 
consciously to have settled accounts with himself late in life. On Febru- 
ary 6, 1559, Phaer graduated MB from Oxford and proceeded MD the 
following month. Clearly a formality, his supplication for the Bachelor's 
degree included Phaer's statement that "he had practised medicine for 
twenty years, and had made experiments about poisons and antidotes" 
(Lee 1026). Writing on provincial medical history of the period, R. S. 
Roberts notes that university licences "to practice medicine throughout 
England" were usually granted at Oxford at the same time as the MB 
degree with the applicant nearly always already in practice. This was 
clearly the case with Thomas Phaer. As historian Nancy Siraisi puts it, 
"throughout the twelfth to fifteenth centuries (and for long thereafter), 
the task of acquiring medical expertise was pursued in a variety of con- 
texts and at widely varying levels of formal organization, intellectualiza- 
tion, and sophistication. Medical education was formally acquired in the 
university classroom or informally through private study or shared ex- 
perience" (50). Through practice, publication, and retroactive official 
imprimatur, Phaer seems to have involved himself in all the possibilities 
for gaining medical expertise. 

And he seems to have lived the literary life right up to the end as 
well. Having concluded book five of Eneidos on May 4, 1556, Phaer 
mentions escaping an accident at Carmarthen which may or may not 
have involved his official duties there as customs searcher (Bindoff 3: 
103). A serious injury to his right hand sometime after April 3, 1560, 
ended his translating at line 298 of the tenth book of Eneidos, and he 
died later that August. His will, dated August 12, names his wife as sole 
executrix and provides generously for his daughters Elynor, Mary, and 
Elizabeth. He also directed that his wife apply £5 to an unspecified pur- 
pose "where she doth knowe, by an appointemente betwene her and 
me" (Cunningham 4) which may or may not mean auxiliary burial rites 


of the Roman Catholic church. Phaer also requested that his influential 
Protestant friend George Ferrers select a scriptural passage -'graven in 
brasse" (Cunningham 3) for his gravestone. 

Phaer's Eneidos, however, lived on. According to his literary execu- 
tor, William Wightman, Phaer requested that the second edition of his 
Eneidos be dedicated to the powerful, rising Protestant politician Sir 
Nicholas Bacon, Elizabeth's Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. Consequent- 
ly, in 1562 Wightman saw Phaer's nine-book Eneidos through the press: 
"777e Nyne Fyrst Bookes of the Eneidos of Virgil converted into Englishe 
vearse by Thomas Phaer Doctour of Phisike, with so muche of the 
tenthe Booke as since his death coulde be founde in unperfit papers at 
his house in Kilgarran forest in Penbroke shyre." In the dedication, 
Wightman is as forceful as he is personal: 

Whilest God gave lyfe and health to Thomas Phaer Doctour of 
Phisike, I had some moore frendly familiaritie with him then 
moste men had. In whych respect he did before his last depart- 
ynge downe from hence into Penbroke shire of speciall trust 
leave in my handes the eyght and nynth bookes of Yirgilles 
Eneidos, by him translated into Englyshe verse. And promised to 
use all hys possible diligence for the finishing of the other three 
bookes then utterly unbegonne: Declarynge moreover unto me 
that hys verye mynde and purpose was not onely to prynt the 
former part agayne for reformation of some faultes overslypt 
upon the first impression, but also havyng finished the same to 
dedicate the whole worke unto your Lordship, whome he tooke 
for a speciall Patrone and frendly favorer bothe of hym and hys 
doings. Albeit, it pleased God to prevent hym by death so as he 
coulde not make an ende thereof: yet since he lyked to commit 
these two bookes into my handes onely. The foarce of death shall 
not be able through my default to make hys worke dye: Neither 
shall hys good entent be frustrate in makyng your lordship the 
Patrone thereof ('^2r). 

The personal tone of Wightman's preface is suggestive. Phaer clearly 
took his Eneidos seriously enough to seek its official facilitation through 
the patronage of political ascendancy. 

A university man himself. Sir Nicholas Bacon had certainly achieved 
prominence as outspoken Protestant parliamentarian during Phaer's last 
term as an MP in 1559. If, as Wightman declares, Phaer insisted on nam- 
ing Bacon as patron, his public sympathies had changed from the dedica- 


tion of the first edition to Queen Mary, "my moste soverain good 
Ladie, and onely redoughted maistresse*' [Eneidos 1558, A2r). But Phaer, 
like his earliest patron the Marquess of Winchester, assured himself of 
survival by staying in the political middle. Doubtless, after years of 
public life, he had also learned the most effective channels of political 
facilitation. It comes as little surprise then that Phaer's, like many Eng- 
lish families of the period, had daughters named Mary and Elizabeth. 

Wightman takes personal pains to show how Phaer's Eneidos con- 
sumed his attentions to the end, declaring: 

Marie it should appeare by the two verses in the ende of this 
booke by hym translated upon his death bed the very day before 
he dyed, which he sent unto me subscribed with his left hand 
(the use of the right hande beyng taken away, through the hurte 
whereof he dyed) that he had gone so much further as those 
verses be in Virgilles tenth booke ('^2v). 

And those final verses? Wightman sees to it that they are printed at the 
conclusion for the sake of their appropriateness: 

Ech mans day stands prefixt, time short & swift with cureles 

[I]s lotted al mankind, but by their deedes their fame to stretche 
That privilege vertue gives (Gg3r). 

These lines from the Aeneid (10. 479-81) were respectfully incorporated 
word-for-word by Thomas Twyne in completing the translation (Lally 
xxxviii). Phaer's linguistic expertise and power as cultural communicator 
lived on. 

Wightman's additional biographical detail of the untimely circum- 
stance of Phaer's death is touching: the "hurte whereof he dyed" most 
likely involving a fall from a horse, as suggested in Sir Thomas 
Chaloner's "Epitaph on Thomas Phaer, physician:" 

Phaer, right worthy he of long drawn years, 

Alas, hath perished by untimely fate: 

The sword of Jove— and who shall 'scape his doom?— 

His blood hath spilt, hard fault of luckless gait. (Still 127) 

But Phaer's life and work is difficult to condense into such elegiacs or 
to consider as biographically described by the posthumous praise of 
William Wightman or Barnabe Googe (25) or William Webbe (C3v- 
C4r) or others previously quoted. Thomas Churchyard, in his preface to 


Skelton*s Works, links Phaer to other English vernacular worthies such as 
Langland, Chaucer, and Surrey, declaring "And Phaer did hit the pricke, / 
In thinges he did translate." Clearly Phaer was on target and in the bull's- 
eye of English cultural communication in the early modern period. 

And yet, according to medical historian George Frederic Still, even 
Phaer's memorial at Cilgerran is gone now along with the memorial 
brass he ordered and the very churchyard in which his body was in- 
terred. A tablet commemorating Phaer was erected at Cilgerran in 1986 
(Cule 90-91). What remains is Phaer's multitalented contribution to 
learning and letters in his own time and ours, combining disciplines and 
translating them for popular edification. In this transformative effort 
Phaer deserves the last word. As spelled out in his preface to The Boke 
of Chyldreriy he is determined "to shewe the remedyes that God hath 
created for the use of man to distrybute in Englysshe to them that are 
unlerned part of the treasure that is in other languages" (27). These 
"other languages" include the language of law, of Latin, of parliamen- 
tary debate, of folk belief, of medical inquiry, of the human body itself. 
And it is to that early modern language of medicine that we must turn 
in considering Phaer's seminal pediatrics text. 

The Text 

Thomas Phaer's The Boke of Chyldren appeared in 1544. The work was 
printed by Edward Whytchurche in one volume along with three other 
medical pieces: Phaer's translation of Jehan Goeurot's The Regiment of 
Lyfe, A goodly Bryefe Treatise of the Pestylence, and A Declaration of the 
Veynes, both by Phaer. The text was widely popular, and is listed as one 
of the thirteen "Medical best-sellers 1486-1604" in Paul Slack's essay on 
vernacular medical literature of Tudor England (248). During the 
sixteenth century. The Regiment ofLyfe was a most important title, and 
the volume is identified accordingly. But, from a medical and literary 
standpoint, it is The Boke of Chyldren that deserves precedence. In fact 
The Boke of Chyldren does precede the main text in Whytchurche's 1544 
printing. In all subsequent editions, however, Phaer's Boke of Chyldren 
is last in the volume while the preface remains at the beginning. This 
seems appropriate, because the preface to The Boke of Chyldren is some- 
thing of a populist manifesto in which Phaer sets forth his general 
terms, conditions, and preconceptions as medical-cultural communicator. 
This book is set apart by its sense of specialization and by its prece- 


dent-setting "Englishness." Indeed Phaer's defense of the vernacular 
reads like a spirited offensive thrust. Like Phaer's other publications in 
medicine, law, and the classics, The Boke of Chyldren is also a cultural 
text that asserts English as a language suitable for learned consciousness. 
Herein Phaer displays a profound mobility of intellect which he trans- 
poses onto his text. By changing the language of original medical repor- 
tage to English, Phaer effectively changes medical practice. He localizes 
it, demystifies it, shares it with his countrymen for whom he was soon 
to sit as parliamentary representative. Phaer thus represents a significant 
social voice. The nature of the book's specialization is also significant in 
that it focuses premorbid attention on to a specific segment of the 
population hitherto ignored as a patient-group in its own right. This, in 
a period when early childhood diseases were usually fatal, makes The 
Boke of Chyldren an important original contribution; and its reprinting 
throughout the Tudor period in England certainly credits its popularity. 

In their cultural assertiveness, authoritative certainty, and printed sta- 
bility as "English" learning, Phaer's books both define and benefit from 
an incipient cultural nationalism. His use of the vernacular democratizes 
learning across disciplines where English is valorized as a means to cul- 
tural advancement and cultural definition. According to Linda Voigts in 
Speculum-, by 1475 vernacular English was common and accepted, was 
"considered an appropriate medium for nearly every sort of university- 
derived scientific and medical writing" (817). She notes that after 1475 
scholars can find "a full range of sophisticated university treatises— most- 
ly on medicine and astronomy— in English-language manuscripts where 
Latin plays little or no role" (814). But Voigts describes a university and 
manuscript culture of elite learning. Phaer's milieu involves popular 
print. His is not the voice of one scholar speaking to other scholars. 
Rather, he is an expert speaking to all, and his defensiveness indicates 
that his practice is not without opposition. Even if a current anti-Eng- 
lish lobby was more perceived than real, Phaer's sharp tone certainly 
sets his project apart as distinctly English, Tudor, and contemporary. Be- 
sides, in matters of medical and scientific doctrine, sharp attacks on pre- 
decessors and adversaries were considered standard procedure as far back 
as Galen, as noted by Siegel in his volume on the work of the great 
classical physician. 

Boyd Berry curiously attributes a measure of paranoia to Phaer, con- 
sidering him as threatened within a milieu of Tudor social dislocation. 
He correctly refers to Phaer as a "linguistic nationalist" (566), but then 
goes on to trivialize the emerging power of print, declaring incredu- 


lously that Phaer **sees himself threatened merely for publishing a 
book*' (568). However, the power of the printed word flexes remarkably 
in this early period of sectarian contention, vigorous publication, and 
information transferral. One might consider early print culture to be in- 
volved in an information struggle for people's minds. In her richly infor- 
mative study. The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Elizabeth Eisen- 
stein notes the power of print dissemination in addition to intellectual 
cross-fertilization and cultural exchange as afforded by printed texts in 
all their variety. Clearly Phaer, broadcasting information in printed 
English as opposed to guarding it in specialized academic language, is 
very much a creature of print culture. And print, as the invention that 
actually advertises itself, advertises itself in unstable relation to its own 
vernacular. Hence * 'English" becomes a published national conscious- 
ness, a developing and capitalizing vernacular as argued by Benedict 
Anderson in Imagined Communities. Through print, readers perceive 
their cultural location. Phaer therefore must be considered one of the 
earliest and most committed "English" cultural authorities. 

Indeed The Boke of Chyldren, England's first pediatrics text, was pre- 
ceded as a study only by Richard Jonas's translation of Roesslin's Ger- 
man obstetrics work, The Byrth ofMankynde (1540). Revised and reissued 
in 1545 by Thomas Raynold, this popular book contained prenatal and 
postpartum information for midwives. Herein, Raynold too felt moved 
to defend the vernacular: "sume alledging that it is shame, and other 
sume that it is not mete ne syttyng such matter to be entreatyd of, soo 
playnely in our mother and vulgare langage" (Eccles, "Early Use of 
English for Midwiferies," 380). Thomas Phaer clearly knew the work 
(appropriating its section on "goggle eyes" for his own text), and had it 
in mind when he wrote his own more patient-specific Boke of Chyidren. 
But Phaer's interest is non-obstetric, strictly postpartum, and more 
clearly focused on infant survival and quality of life. As Phaer himself 
puts it, children deserve specialized medical attention "by reason of 
theyr weakenesse" (31). His book is "of" children, speaks to their needs 
and addresses their particular medical concerns. 

Phaer knows that his text is breaking cultural ground in its topic and 
in its use of English. Such understanding informs his defensive tone at 
the outset of the preface where he seeks to deflect interpretive criticism. 
His subjective, parenthetical interventions here and throughout show 
him to be self-conscious, critically aware, and well schooled in argu- 
ment. And his opening series of infinitives makes clear his populist 


My purpose is here to do them good that have moost nede, that 
is to say chyldren, and to shewe the remedyes that God hath 
created for the use of man to distrybute in Englysshe to them 
that are unlerned part of the treasure that is in other languages, 
to provoke them that are of better lernyng to utter theyr knowl- 
ege in suche lyke attemptes, finallye to declare that to the use of 
many which ought not to be secrete for lucre of a fewe (27). 

The tone is learned, virtuous, and generous. Phaer takes direct aim at 
received notions of medical treatment and patient care and determines 
to change them through clearly reported English information. 

Good health and medical service have been precious commodities 
since antiquity, and wealthy patients have always been prepared to pay 
for recondite advice and expensive treatment. Physicians historically 
have relished an image of themselves as mysterious, private healers, as 
advisors privy to secret knowledge, as scholars communicating in a 
special language. Phaer, however, attacks this cherished image directly: 

Why grutche they phisik to come forth in Englysshe? wolde they 
have no man to knowe but onely they? Or what make they 
themselves? Marchauntes of our lyves and deathes, that wee 
shulde buy our health only of them and at theyr pryces? No 
good phisicion is of that mynde (27). 

His concluding imperative is direct and critical, unlike that of anony- 
mous forebears prior to the invention of printing. Audrey Eccles quotes 
the purpose of some early English translators directly: "be cause he had 
a gud frend that under stod no latyn;" and, "I wyl wright of women 
prevy sekenes the helpyng and that oon woman may helpe a nother" 
("The Reading Public," 144, 145). Such justification is as marginalized 
as it is touching. Contained within localized premodern manuscripts, 
such attempts at distributing knowledge remain unapprehended. As 
a publishing authority of the English Renaissance, however, Phaer 
couches his criticism in more social terms, in terms of mass-communi- 
cated culture through printing. His text is for everyone. 

But The Boke of Chyldren, like all literature, is also keyed to under- 
lying material conditions which determine the logic of its specific dis- 
course. The book exists as the material product of a sixteenth-century 
mind identified as Thomas Phaer. This mind was nourished by material 
conditions of upbringing, education, conflict, and lived experience. It 
produced extant written texts, of which The Boke of Chyldren is but one. 
Indeed, as political-textual theorist Christopher Hampton puts it, "the 


mind's products, its systems of thought, its ideas, its propositions, are 
themselves material products" (17). And thus it is for Phaer^s book on 
children, along with the mental and cultural preconditions that both 
shape and inform it: English nationalism under Henry VIII; professional 
training at the inns of court; the internationalism of university life in 
early modern Europe; widespread infant and childhood mortality; au- 
thoritative concern about surgery and midwifery; a burgeoning sense of 
post-Reformation criticism; ancient folk wisdom and inchoate empiri- 
cism; political instability perhaps coupled with a deeply-felt "save-the- 
children" sense of conservative social responsibility. 

Phaer, too, is socially determined, is clearly the product of his sui*- 
rounding social context. Biographical material describes the author as 
middle class, well educated, and politic. He is clearly in touch with the 
social and political vicissitudes of his day, perhaps explaining his various 
public positions and responsibilities. Phaer's was a cultural establishment 
at once respected but also under social stress. Indeed any establishment 
was threatened in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation climate of 
early Tudor England. Hence, perhaps, Phaer's politic decampment to 
Wales, to its relatively safe marginality, its rural complacency, its funda- 
mentally Tudor allegiance. And his medical consciousness was also 
determined in no small bit by a social order reliant on native English 
rather than Latin or even Welsh. This period in England charted a cul- 
tural shift from a priest class chanting Latin repetitions to Protestant 
vernacular texts having to do with thesis and analysis. 

The rise of the printed text nourished an unprecedented instructional 
culture, a culture informed by humanist texts such as The Boke of the 
Governor but also by a myriad of more popular texts on religious 
discipline, folk and medical remedies, and occult events. These books— 
and The Boke of Chyldren represents a significant progressive example- 
were informative, not catechismal, vernacular, not Latin, social, not sa- 
cred. Such changes in emphasis and approach signal changes in the gen- 
eral social orientations of academic life that informed Thomas Phaer: 
from the analogical to the empirical, from a medieval love of patterning 
to a Renaissance discourse of exploration and discovery. In Science and 
the Secrets of Nature, William Eamon accurately charts the direction of 
contemporary informational culture: 

The concern with the material needs of everyday life, the empha- 
sis upon hands-on experience, the confirmation of the greater 
efficacy of technology over the sacred, and the availability of self- 
education through reading— all these forces contributed to a 


growing awareness that humanity's lot could be bettered, not by- 
magic, cunning, or the grace of God, but by knowing "how to" 

The Boke ofChyldren is a medical document that attempts to commu- 
nicate "how to" within the complicated cultural positions of sixteenth- 
century England. In effect, the document reaches out to touch and in- 
form those who read it. The specific remedies it rehearses may often be 
superstitious in nature, indeed ludicrous in conception, but they make 
sense to Phaer and his readership in terms of an overarching Galenic 
teleology, a holistic view of the world and of everything divinely pro- 
vided in the world— plant, mineral, animal, human. Clearly a student of 
Galen, Phaer would agree with the great authority that the best physi- 
cian must also be a philosopher, a philosopher unifying reason with 
experimentation and learning. Phaer's words signify a learned relation- 
ship, an exchange of social views and practice with the practice of his in- 
quiring readers. Hereby, the book communicates material realities that 
precede language: childhood development, disease, and well-being — 
indeed quality of infant life as advised through contemporary remedies 
and through the Galenic synthesis of ancient authorities such as Hippo- 
crates, Plato, and Aristotle. 

The Boke of Chyldren thus tries to communicate specialized medical 
advice for children. It manifests a variety of rhetorical strategies includ- 
ing direct advice, authoritative appeal, and personal observation. But it 
operates at a level beyond M. J. Tucker's observation of pseudoscience 
and enthusiasm for systematization (235). Language, here, is a vehicle to 
inform. And it informs through a certain "style" of discourse, a style 
that precedes later scientific rigor through its appeal to authority. Indeed 
the book's own tiny emergence, embedded as it is within the volume of 
The Regiment ofLyfe, signals it as attached to received authority and yet 
clearly set apart from it with its own title and specific focus on the 
subject of children. That the book manifests a "grammar" of its own 
popular authority is quickly evidenced by Phaer's appeal to vernacular 
authorities such as "prynce" Galen (27) and "Kyng" Avicenna (28) as 
royally compassionate authorities on medical doctrine. It is then but one 
metaphorical step more to quote Christ from the Sermon on the Mount. 
And Phaer immediately does so for the purpose of emotional compul- 
sion and authority in his readership, a readership which he presumes to 
be Christian, literate, activist, and, above all, concerned. 

Phaer decries secrecy or diffidence as "a detestable thyng in any 
godlye science," but as especially "damnable and devylyshe" (28) in rela- 


tion to medical knowledge. And yet He appeals often to emotional 
associations of folk practicality, herbal lore, and contemporary eso- 
tericism. Concerning paradoxical cold and heat, Phaer notes a "woun- 
derfuUe secrete of nature" (43), signaling appeal to the then-current 
books of "secrets," a popular literature characterized by Eamon as "tra- 
ditional lore concerning the occult properties of plants, stones, and 
animals, along with miscellaneous craft and medicinal recipes, alchemical 
formulas, and 'experiments' to produce marvelous effects through 
magic" (16). Phaer's emotional, cultural, and preempirical approach 
represents a contemporary medical discursive practice oriented toward 
satisfaction. He incorporates a wide-ranging discursive practice having to 
do with a whole group of functions of observation, record, interroga- 
tion, suggestion, criticism, religious appeal, and overt condemnation, 
that passes for medical discourse in his time and ours. Phaer provides ad- 
vice for contemporary English parents, but the book suggests that he lis- 
tened to them too as many of the remedies are folk-based and naive. 
Ever the populist, Phaer himself hopes that his book will "be redde of 
as many as wold" (28). 

But the book is still a special kind of text, a medical text that con- 
veys its information through authoritative textual appeal. As Phaer in- 
sists, "the very bare texte shal be there alleged . . . folowyng therein not 
onlye the famous and excellent authours of antiquitye, but also the men 
of hyghe learnynge nowe of oure dayes" (28-29). A structure of specific 
interventions makes The Boke ofChyldren something of a remedy book, 
but it is certainly beyond the loose medical receptaria of astrological 
computations, secrets, humoral theory, uroscopy, charms, prayers, cup- 
ping, and various ritual actions having to do with the time of year or 
nature of the patient. It casts off Latin only to return to Latinate struc- 
tures that make it a book of real medical inquiry. As Linda Voigts ex- 
plains in Editing Texts in the History of Science and Medicine: 

Fourteenth-century prose was essentially paratactic with a high 
number of coordinating conjunctions and a structure based on 
repetition, parallelism, balance and contrast, in short, a language 
quite different from Latin. Yet, by 1500 English had adopted 
many of the hypotactic capacities of Latin; the fifteenth century 
saw the introduction of a number of subordinating conjunctions 
in English and a growth of use of a variety of subordinating 
devices that encourage qualification and signal relationships of 
cause and doubt (53-54). 


Just so. Phaer's sixteenth-century prose appeals to authority in the 
widely-incorporative Galenic manner, but it also goes its own way in 
terms of contemporary contingency, stylistics, inquiry, and exploration. 
Phaer concludes his preface by defending the previous edition of The 
Regiment ofLyfe, and "the straunge ingrediens wherof it often treateth" 
(29). He makes no apology for responsible innovation and expansion of 
knowledge. Moreover, he claims to have simplified matters in The Boke 
ofChyldren by focusing on local herbs and remedies "as may be easelye 
gotten" (29), and does not hesitate to refer readers back to appropriate 
passages in The Regiment of Lyfe. Such "simplification" reminds Phaer 
of his stated purpose to translate and perfectly declare the nature of 
"Simples"— uticompounded medicaments— of the later Middle Ages, 
with all of their interconnections and signatures concerning plants, 
roots, seeds, and their various interactions. Many contemporary printed 
herbals existed (Arber, Appendix I), but none of them in English. Indeed 
Phaer is insistent on the point: 

I hope to see the tyme whan the nature of Simples (whych have 
ben hytherto incrediblie corrupted) shal be redde in Englysshe as 
in other languages: that is to saye, the perfecte declaration of the 
qualities of herbes, seedes, rootes, trees, and of all commodities 
that are here amongest us, shal be earnestely and trulye declared 
in oure owne natyve speche (29). 

Citing the great classical herbalist Dioscorides throughout his text, Phaer 
must have been pleased to see William Turner's English herbals appear 
within a few years in 1548 and 1551. And, like Phaer, Turner is defen- 
sive on his use of the vernacular, pleading the necessity of English sur- 
geons and apothecaries, and declaring of himself "then am I no hinderer 
writing unto the English my countrymen an English herbal" {New Her- 
ball 216). As previously noted, both shared a Commons sitting as well 
as a distinct commitment to the popularizing nature of the English 

Phaer's Boke of Chyldren contains much "simple" advice— literally, 
figuratively, herbally, and medically. And, in a clever, telling irony, 
Phaer dedicates his own "simple power" (29) to the medical common 
good. His sense of simplicity comprises a wide knowledge of herbal 
combinations, but also focuses his readers on medical information in 
their own vernacular— an assignment that is at once simple and, in its 
own time, very complex. Phaer combines humanist learning through 
classical authorities such as Dioscorides and Galen, but he also remains 


sensitive to folk and household cures. His project effectively synthesizes 
contemporary science and popular advice. As stated before, by present- 
ing medical information in the vernacular and insisting on its local fa- 
miliarization, Phaer effectively changes the way in which medicine is 
performed and reported. 

Phaer's is a physician's concern with complex combinations of herbs, 
chemicals, behavioral restrictions, and appropriate actions to facilitate 
the comfort and well-being of his patient group— in this case, children. 
His focus suggests that children, as an identifiable group, were a valuable 
consideration in early modern England, a consideration beyond the 
behavioral, picturesque, or ornamental notions of Arieses study in Cen- 
turies of Childhood. One might usefully compare Aries's esthetic obser- 
vation, "the appearance of the portrait of the dead child in the sixteenth 
century accordingly marked a very important moment in the history of 
feelings" (40), with Phaer 's more practical materialist consideration of 
live, healthy children and their medical requirements. 

In Phaer's view and practice, the child is a weak, undeveloped mem- 
ber of the populace requiring physical attention specific to needs. His 
concern runs counter to Aries's notions of emotional indifference. To 
Phaer, children are special, important, different from adults, and deserv- 
ing of care. Such attention begins with a specialized form of nourish- 
ment in breast-feeding and a necessity for much sleep. This concern ex- 
plains Phaer's early focus on nursing in The Boke ofChyldren along with 
the many attendant dietary and behavioral restrictions involved. Phaer 
reports a practice of intensive medical attention, attention sensitive to 
the notions argued in opposition to Aries by Linda Pollock in Forgotten 
Children: children, then and now, are rapidly developmental, playful, in 
need of protection, care, guidance, and financial support (Pollock 98). 
Parents, then and now, attempt usually to attend to such provisions. 

Raising children is considered as a medical, moral, and social regi- 
men, inculcating a discipline to facilitate encounters with early child- 
hood diseases, and to allow the child to pass into prepubescent life. 
Indeed, having achieved the age of six or seven, the child had a strong 
chance of surviving into adulthood and contributing to society. But chil- 
dren were not customarily ignored or abused up to that point as argued 
by Aries and de Mause. Rather, as Hanawalt notes (61), even unknown 
and presumably abandoned children found dead in the period received 
burial at the expense of the wealthier members of the local parish. Cit- 
ing contemporary diarist accounts. Pollock (124-28) is especially reveal- 
ing on the extent of parental anxiety over childhood illness and death in 
the period. 


Presumably, such concern informs Phaer*s insistence on the moral 
and nutritional qualities of the nurse. His best-case scenario would in- 
volve the breast-feeding nourishment of a loving mother. But, failing 
that, the nurse shall be, in Phaer's words, "sobre, honest and chaste, 
well fourmed, amyable and chearefull, so that she maye accustome the 
infant unto myrthe, ... an honest woman (suche as had a man chylde 
last afore is best)" (33). The paternalist physican must always, it seems, 
assert masculinity as a moral good running counter to feminine laxity. 
A man of his time, Phaer affirms such sexist social responsibility and 
medical intervention, as in the treatment of stiff joints: "whyche thynge 
procedeth many tymes of colde as whan a chylde is founde in the frost 
or in the strete, caste awaye by a wycked mother" (43). But, to his 
credit, Phaer does distance himself from his own prejudice in the clause 
that follows, declaring, "I am not ignorant that it may procede of 
manye other causes." However holistic and socially concerned, Phaer 
characteristically returns quickly to the stable ground of specific diag- 
nosis and remedy. 

Phaer's medical approach is clearly post-obstetric and pre-etiquette, 
having little in common with the many devotional and catechismal 
books for children in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England de- 
tailed by Demers, or with the precepts about table manners found in 
The Bahees Book (c.l475) edited by Furnivall. Moreover, Phaer begins 
specifically by departing from the many complicated manual things 
"pertaynyng onely to the office of a mydwyfe" (31). He considers such 
things as "the beinge in the wombe, the tyme of procedyng, the maner 
of the byrth, the byndyng of the navyll, settynge of the membres, lava- 
tories, unctions, swathinges, and entreatementes" (31) to be matters of 
extreme modesty to be attended only by women. 

A contemporary network of experienced mothers and cunning women 
no doubt provided frontline care for children generally, although midwives 
in England had been officially regulated along with physicians and surgeons 
since the time of Henry VIII. Indeed prospective midwives had to swear 
an oath before a Bishop's Court, abjuring witchcraft, promising never to 
substitute or interfere with newborns, and learning the official sacra- 
ments for infant baptism. In Midwives in History and Society ^ Towler and 
Bramall quote from the oath sworn on August 26, 1567 by midwife 
Eleanor Pead (56-57). Quite apart from Aries's sense of indifference and 
Phaer's sense of modesty, childbirth was certainly important enough to 
catch the regulative attention of official Tudor policy. 

And Tudor policy was gendered male. Indeed the complicated beha- 
vioral and dietary prohibitions to which nursing women were put only 


serve to clarify the systematic paternalistic control of the period. Male 
physicians exercised overwhelming control over regulation of medical 
public policy and over women's bodies as well. As argued by Jean Don- 
nison in Midwives and Medical Men, the period historically charts a 
course of gradual loss of female influence through male medical ascen- 
dancy. Masculine authority seems nervously intrusive in the matter of 
childbirth and early infant care, a nervousness perhaps signaled later in 
Phaer's document when considering "swellynge of the coddes" (70) or 
scrotum. Herein sexual matters are of concern to Phaer, drawing him 
back to his original concern with breast-feeding as he forbids hemlock 
plasters and their adverse effect on secondary sexual characteristics: "set 
no playster to the stones wherin hymlocke entereth, for it wyll depryve 
them for ever of their growynge; and not only them but the brestes of 
wenches whan they be annoynted therewyth" (71). Sex and gender and 
power, as always, are implicated in medical prescription. As in the medi- 
cal politics of the period, womanly attention to children is reconfigured 
within Phaer's text to dictate a new medical esthetic having to do with 
instruction, advice, and compliance. 

This new medical esthetic, however, continues its assertion of re- 
ceived physical comparisons, especially the then current doctrine of sig- 
natures which suggested that God had set a clue to the medical nature of 
every plant in terms of its outward appearance. For the purposes of 
treatment, appearances were of utmost importance. Consider Phaer's 
own analogical reasoning for warming chilled limbs in cold water: 

When an apple or a pere is frosen in the wynter, sette it to the 
fyer and it is destroyed; but yf ye putte it into colde water, it 
shall as well endure as it dyd afore; whereby it doth appere that 
the water resolveth colde better wyth his moysture than the fyer 
can do by reason of hys heate (44). 

And yet Phaer takes the middle way, declaring, "when a yonge chylde 
is so taken with a colde, I esteme it best for to bathe the bodye in luke 
warme water" (44). He exercises the mediating judgment of a wise ex- 
perienced physician. Still, Phaer sees the wisdom of treating the falling 
sickness, "called in the Greke tonge epilepsia" (40) with "the muscle of 
the oke" (41) or with a decoction of linden tree blossoms. The effect: 
associative strength to keep the patient from falling. As Phaer authorita- 
tively notes of the linden, "it is a tree called in Latyne tilia, the same 
wherof they make ropes and halters of the barke" (41). Presumably, 
rope and halter associations with the linden will combine with the 
strength of the oak to sustain the patient against "falling." A similar line 


of reasoning informs the prescription of "oyntment of an hares galle" to 
"amende deafnesse" (50), or the "braynes of an hare" (51) to alleviate 
teething pains. The size of rabbit ears and teeth, along with benign 
animal associations, seem to be medicinally vital to a Renaissance physi- 
cian seeking appropriate cause and effect in medications. 

But Phaer is also providing practical advice in the manner of a coun- 
try doctor. To Phaer, an "outragious syckenes" (54) such as quinsy or 
swollen lymph glands calls for an outrageous cure, so he falls back upon 
the appropriateness of preparing "a swallowe brent wyth f ethers and all 
and myxte wyth honye, whereof the pacient must swallowe downe a 
lytle" (54; my emphasis). Here, the word "swallow'* seems to be signi- 
fier, signified, and remedy. Also prescribed: "the pouder of the chyldes 
dunge to the chyld" (54). This, doubtless on the reasoning that what has 
passed once may easily pass again. Bear in mind, however, that Phaer 
was a long way removed from previous antirational theorists such as 
Nicholas of Poland who, in the latter half of the thirteenth century, 
posited that God had implanted special healing virtues in obnoxious 
things such as snakes, lizards, and frogs (Siraisi 33). Presumably, this ex- 
plains Phaer's reliance instead on such exquisite medicaments as dove's 
dung, hare's brains, or "the lycour that yssueth out of shepes clawes or 
gootes clawes, hette in the fyer" (69). Phaer also sees the appropriateness 
of treating chafed feet with "fragmentes of shomakers lether" (67), at 
the same time as he appears to anticipate mold-based antibiotics in his 
reliance on certain mushrooms mixed in hot drink as a remedy for 
quinsy (54-55). As well, in the case of the common cold, Phaer advo- 
cates postural drainage of mucus as follows: 

holdynge downe his head that the reumes maye issue, for by that 
meanes the cause of the cough shall ren out of hys mouth and 
avoyde the chylde of many noughtie and slymy humours; 
whyche done, many tymes the paciente amendeth wythout any 
further helpe of medicine (55). 

Such a procedure, combined with warm, sweet drinks, anticipates by 
some four hundred and fifty years the conclusion published in the 
Journal of the American Medical Association (May 5, 1993): "No good 
evidence has demonstrated the effectiveness of over-the-counter cold 
medications in preschool children" (Smith and Feldman 2263). Phaer's 
practical procedures seem well-suited to his status as both country 
doctor and intellectually curious physician. 

And yet Phaer's document asserts scholastic opinion almost as much 
as practical intervention. This was the standard procedure of the Renais- 


sance physician, schooled in analyses often with legal or theological 
emphasis. Throughout, he signals his learning as text-based in holistic 
Galenic terms. Indeed, Phaer seems to rely often upon the authority of 
naming terms, as in the section on "canker in the mouthe": 

I knowe that the Greekes and aunciente Latynes gyve other 
names unto this dysease, as in callynge it an ulcer, other whyles 
aphthe, nome, carcinoma, and lyke, whiche are al in Englyshe 
knowen by the name of canker in the mouthe (52). 

Likewise, in describing "small pockes and measylles," Phaer assures his 
readers of the general etymology and prevalence of these common child- 
hood diseases at the same time as he wisely counsels, "The best and 
most sure helpe in this case is not to meddle wyth any kynde of medi- 
cines, but to let nature woorke her operation" (68). 

In the section on "scabbynesse and ytche," Phaer challenges practi- 
tioners too reliant on the terminology of Dioscorides, especially Vigo, 
the renowned Italian surgeon. Phaer corrects such misguided medical 
interventionists by correcting their misuse of terminology, alleging of 
Vigo's error: 

It was for nothynge els but lacke of the tonges, which faulte is 
not to be so hyghly rebuked in a man of his studye, applyinge 
himselfe more to the practyse of surgerye and to handye opera- 
tion, wherein indede he was nere incomparable, than he dyd to 
search the varyaunce of tonges (47). 

Clearly, the physician's learned analysis of terms is to be privileged over 
the surgeon's mechanistic approach. Physical diagnosis can be more ef- 
fective than physical intervention. The physician can "tell" the prob- 
lem, can name it and thus prescribe the recondite physical measures and 
medicaments to be exercised and taken. In so doing, the physician regis- 
ters the patient as part of a whole whose suffering is not unique, whose 
recovery is certainly possible. 

At all points, the physician's stature as authority, and position with- 
in learned gentility, is to be emphasized. Physicians were philosophically 
trained in classical and recondite texts, texts such as Galen's that presum- 
ably held all the pertinent answers. As a gentle scholar with connections 
at the inns of court or a university college, Phaer relies on preconcep- 
tions of class to accentuate his prescriptions. Surgeons— even celebrated 
and scholarly ones such as Vigo, or Phaer's own compatriot, Thomas 
Vicary— are basically tradesmen involved in "handye operation." In 


using such terms, Phaer demurely wafts his learning over the Greek 
etymological roots of surgery, as stated directly a few years later in 
Vicary's own Anatomie of the Bodie of Man (1548): "Surgerie is derived 
oute of these wordes, Apo tes chiroSy cai tou ergon, that is too bee under- 
standed, A hand working" (12). The surgeons of early modern Europe, 
especially in England, were working-class and thus negligible as medical 
authorities, although historian Vivian Nutton argues otherwise in a 
suggestive essay entitled "Humanist Surgery.** A cultivated image of 
gentle, learned trustworthiness ensured the physicians their position of 

The founding of the Royal College of Physicians in London (1518) 
accorded significant privilege and power to theoretical scholastics, 
further degrading the practical knowledge of physiology that surgeons 
had gained over the course of the previous two centuries on battlefields 
and at bedsides. While physicians enjoyed genteel university associations, 
surgeons were returned to the civic organization of the trade guilds. 
Just as apothecaries were usually associated with the grocers' and spicers* 
companies, the surgeons were merged with the barbers* guild by act 
of Parliament in 1540. Previous English kings such as Edward I, Ed- 
ward III, and Henry V had relied on an army of respectable surgeons in 
their foreign wars. But Henry VIII preferred cold-war detente with the 
Continent and privileged university contemplations of physic over the 
practical interventions of surgery. A new age of doctrine and dispute 
suppressed the practicalities of bloody surgical intervention while em- 
phasizing scholastic supposition and debate. 

By the early middle part of the sixteenth century in England, an ex- 
plosion of printed books also contributed to the enhanced privilege of 
scholastic authority. Phaer, with his published opinion on law, medi- 
cine, and the classics, takes his place of authority always within terms of 
text and interpretation. And although speculative theory can often de- 
flect attention from clear observation of issues, Phaer maintains his ob- 
servations in The Boke ofChyldren clearly on his subject: the health and 
well-being of children. At all points, he considers children— their predis- 
position to disease, their physical weakness, their lack of agency— to be 
a special group in medical consideration and treatment. And this opin- 
ion is unprecedented. 

To be sure, Phaer engages in rhetorical self-references near the con- 
clusion of his monograph, sending his reader back to pertinent sections 
of The Boke ofChyldren to validate assertions made. But, in many ways, 
his job has been completed in the very publication of his treatise. It 


offers little in the way of powerful empirical inquiry, although his 
methods seem poised confidently on the cusp. Nor does Phaer advance 
any fully recognizable scientific approach, any consistent methodology, 
or even a linked series of possibilities. Rather, he advances an "English" 
text, a text that allows common readers to consider the material, medical 
status of children. Phaer concludes: "Neyther desyre I any lenger to lyve 
than I wil employe my studyes to the honoure of God and profyt of the 
weale publike" (77). Assuredly this little hook— the English textbook on 
pediatrics into the next century— did profit the "weale publike" by 
allowing Englishmen to think about early childhood diseases in their 
own language and to suggest that they might profitably take measures 
against those diseases. The text that follows is edited in the hopes of pro- 
viding a clearer historicized understanding of early English medicine and 
its published communication. 

Thomas Phaer 


The Boke ofChyldren (1544) 


Althoughe (asl doubt not) everye good man wil enterpret this worke to 
none other ende but to be for the comforte of them that are diseased, 
and wyl esteme no lesse of me by whom they profyte, than they wyll be 
glad to receyve the benefites. Yet, for as moche as it is impossyble to 
avoyd the teeth of maUcyous envye, I thought it not unnecessary to pre- 
vent the furyes of some, whiche are ever gnawynge and bytynge upon 
them that further any godlye scyences. To those I protest, that in al my 
studyes I never entended nor yet do entend to satisfy the mindes of any 
suche pikfauhes (which wyll do nothyng but detract and judge others, 
snuffyng at all that offejndeth the noses of theyr momyshe affections, 
howsoever laudable it be otherwayes). But my purpose is here to do 
them good that have moost nede, that is to say chyldren, and to shewe 
the remedyes that God hath created for the use of man to distrybute in 
Englysshe to them that are unlerned part of the treasure that is in other 
languages, to provoke them that are of better lernyng to utter theyr 
knowlege in suche lyke attemptes, finallye to declare that to the use of 
many which ought not to be secrete for lucre of a fewe, and to com- 
municat the frute of my labours to them that wyl gently and thanke- 
fuUy receyve them; which yf any be so proud or supercilious that they 
immediatly wil despise, I shall frendly desyre them, wyth the wordes of 
Horace: Quod si meliora nouistiy Candidus impartiy si non, his utere 
mecum. If they know better, let us have parte; if they do not, why rep- 
yne they at me? why condemne they the thing that they cannot amend? 
or if they can, why dissimule they theyr connyng? how longe wold they 
have the people ignoraunt? why grutche they phisik to come forth in 
Englysshe? wolde they have no man to knowe but onely they? Or what 
make they themselves? Marchauntes of our lyves and deathes, that wee 
shulde buy our health only of them and at theyr pryces? No good phisi- 
cion is of that mynde. For yf Galene the prynce of thys arte beinge a 


Grecian, wrote in the Greke, Kyng Avicenne of Arabic in the speche of 
hys Arabyans; yf Plinius, Celsus, Serenus, and other of the Latynes 
wrote to the people in the Latyne tonge, MarsiUus Ficinus (whome all 
men assente to be singularly learned) disdayned not to wryte in the 
language of Italy. Generally, yf the entent of al that ever set forth any 
noble studye have ben to be redde of as many as wold, what reason is it 
that we shuld huther muther^ here amonge a fewe the thynge that was 
made to be common unto all? Chryst sayeth: No man lyghteth a candle 
to cover it with a bushell, but setteth it to serve every mans nede.^ And 
these go about not only to cover it when it is lyghted, but to quench it 
afore it be kendled (if they myght by malyce); whych ^s it is a detestable 
thyng in any godlye science, so me thynketh in thys so necessarye an 
arte it is excedynge damnable and devylyshe to debarre the fruycion of 
so inestimable benefytes which our heavenlye father hath prepared for 
oure comfort and innumerable uses, wherwyth he hath armed oure im- 
potent nature agaynst the assaultes of so many sycknesses; wherby his 
infynyte mercye and aboundaunte goodnesse is in nothynge els more 
apparauntly confessed by the which benefites; as it wer with moost 
sensible argumentes spoken out of heven, he constrayneth us to thinke 
upon our own weaknesse, and to knowledge that in all fleshe is noth- 
ynge but myserie, siknesse, sorowes, synne, affliction, and deathe, no 
not so moche strengthe as by our owne power to relyeve one member 
of our bodyes diseased. As for the knoweledge of medicines, comfort of 
herbes, mayntenaunce of healthe, prosperytie, and lyfe, they be hys 
benefyttes, and procede of hym, to the ende that we shulde in common 
helpe one an other, and so lyve togyther in hys lawes and commaunde- 
mentes; in the which doyng we shal declare oureselves to have woorthe- 
lye employed them, and as frutefull servauntes be liberallye rewarded. 
Otherwyse, undoutedly the talente whyche we have hydden shall be 
dygged up and distributed to them that shall be more diligent: a terrible 
confusion afore so hye a justyce, and at such a court, where no wager of 
lawe shall be taken, no proctoure lymytted to defende the cause, none 
exception allowed to reprove the wytnes, no councel admytted to quali- 
fye the gloses; the very bare texte shal be there alleged: Cur non posuisti 
talentum in fenus} Whye haste thou not bestowed my talente to the 

' i.e., hugger mugger; to maintain secrecy. 

^ From the Sermon on the Mount; see Matthew 5:15, Mark 4:21, Luke 8:16. Phaer is 
perhaps relying on memory or on his own interpreted understanding, as the Une does not 
correspond exactly to Tyndale's translation. 


vauntage?^ These and suche other examples have enforced me, beynge 
oftentymes exercysed in the studye of phisike, to deryve out of the pur- 
est fountaynes of the same facuhye such holsome remedyes as are most 
approved to the consolation of them that are afflycted, as farre as God 
hathe gyven me understandyng to perceyve; folowyng therein not onlye 
the famous and excellent authours of antiquitye, but also the men of 
hyghe learnynge nowe of oure dayes, as Manardus, Fuchsius, Ruellius, 
Musa, Campegius, Sebastyan of Austryke, Otho Brunfelsius, Leonellus, 
etc. wyth dyvers other for myne oportunitye, not omyttynge also the 
good and sure experimentes that are founde profitable by the daylye 

And whereas in the Regyment ofLyfe, whyche I translated out of the 
Frenche tonge, it hath appered to some more curyouse than nedeth, by 
reason of the straunge ingrediens wherof it often treateth, ye shal knowe 
that I have in manye places amplyfyed the same wyth suche common 
thynges as may be easelye gotten, to satysfie the myndes of them that 
were offended; or els considering that there is no moneye so precious as 
helth, I wold thinke no spice too dere for mayntenauns therof. Not- 
wythstandynge, I hope to see the tyme whan the nature of Simples 
(whych have ben hytherto incrediblie corrupted) shal be redde in Eng- 
lysshe as in other languages: that is to saye, the perfecte declaration of 
the qualities of herbes, seedes, rootes, trees, and of all commodities that 
are here amongest us, shal be earnestely and trulye declared in oure 
owne natyve speche by the grace of God. To the whyche I trust al 
lerned men (havyng a zele to the common wealth) wyll apply theyr dili- 
gent industries. Surely for my parte, I shal never cease, during my 
breath, to bestowe my labour to the furtheraunce of it (tylle it come to 
passe) even to the uttermoste of my simple power. Thus fare ye well 
gentle reders. 

Londiniy mense maii. 

' Again, loosely taken from the Parable of the Talents; see Matthew 25:14-30. 


To begyn a treatyse of the cure of chyldren, it shoulde seme expedyent 
that we shuld declare somewhat of the princyples, as of the generacion, 
the beinge in the wombe, the tyme of procedyng, the maner of the 
byrth, the byndyng of the navyll, settynge of the membres, lavatories, 
unctions, swathinges, and entreatementes, with the circumstaunces of 
these and many other, which if I shuld reherce in particles, it wolde re- 
quyre both a longer tyme and encrease into a greater volume. But foras- 
moch as the moost of these thynges are verye tryte and manifest, some 
pertaynyng onely to the office of a mydwyfe, other for the reverence of 
the matter, not mete to be disclosed to every vyle person: I entende in 
this boke to let them all passe, and to treate onely of the thynges ne- 
cessarye, as to remove the sycknesses wherwith the tender babes are 
oftentymes afflycted and desolate of remedye, for so moche as manye do 
suppose that there is no cure to be ministred unto them by reason of 
theyr weakenesse. And by that vayne opinion, yea rather by a foolyshe 
feare, they forsake manye that myght be well recovered, as it shall ap- 
peare by the grace of God hereafter in thys lytle treatyse when we come 
to declaration of the medicynes. In the meane season for confinitye'^ of 
the matter, I entend to wryte somwhat of the nource, and of the mylke, 
wyth the qualities and complexions of the same, for in that consysteth 
the chefe poynt and summe, not onelye of the mayntenaunce of health, 
but also of the fourrayng or infectyng eyther of the wytte or maners, as 
the Poet Virgin, when he wolde descrybe an uncurteys, churlysh, and a 
rude condishioned tyraunt, dydde attrybute the faulte unto the gyver of 
the mylke, as in sayinge thus: 

Nee tibi diua parenSy generis nee Dardanus authoty 

* The OED credits Phaer with first use of "confinity," declaring the term rare or obso- 
lete: "The position of bordering on something else; neighbourhood, contiguity, adjacency." 


Perfidey sed duris genuit te cautihus horrens 
Caucasus^ hircanaeque admorunt vbera tigres? 

For that devyne Poet, being throughly expert in the privities of na- 
ture, understode ryght well how great an alteration everye thynge taketh 
of the humoure, by the whych it hathe his alyment and nouryshyng in 
the youth; which thyng also was consydred and alleged of manye wyse 
Philosophers: Plato, Theophrastus, Xenophon, Aristotle, and Plinie, 
who dydde all ascrybe unto the nourcement as moche effect or more, as 
to the generacyon. 

And Phavorinus the Philosopher (as wryteth Aulus Gellius)^ affir- 
meth that if lambes be nouryshed with the milke of gootes, they shall 
have course wolle lyke the heere of gootes: and. yf kyddes in lyke maner 
sucke upon shepe, the heere of them shal be softe lyke woll. Wherby it 
doth appeare that the mylke and nouryshyng hath a marveylous effecte 
in chaungyng the complexion, as we see lykewyse in herbes and in 
plantes, for let the seede or ympes'^ be never so good and pure, yet yf 
they be put into an unkynde earth or watred with a noughty and unhol- 
some humour, eyther they come not up at all, or els they wyll degener- 
ate and turne out of theyr kynde, so that scarse it may appeare from 
whence they have ben taken, accordynge to the verse: 

Pomaque degenerant, succos ohlita priores? 

Wherfore as it is agreing to nature so is it also necessary and comly 

^ These lines from the Aeneid are translated thus by Phaer (Lally 83): 

No goddesse never was thy dame, nor thou of Dardans kinde 
Thou traitor wretche, but under rocks and mountaines rough unkinde 
Thou were begot, some brood thou art of beast or monster wilde, 
Some Tigres thee did nurse, and gave to thee their milke unmilde. 

{Eneidos, 4. 395-98) 

Compare them with Christopher Marlowe's rigorous rendition some thirty years later: 

Thy mother was no Goddess, perjur'd man. 
Nor Dardanus the author of thy stock; 
But thou art sprung from Scythian Caucasus, 
And tigers of Hyrcania gave thee suck. 

{Dido Queen of Carthage, 5.1.1 56-59) 

^ The passage occurs in Gellius's Nodes Atticae, vol. 2, bk. 12, chap. 1: "Dissertation of 
the philosopher Favorinus, in which he persuaded a lady of rank to suckle her child herself, 
and not to employ nurses." 

^ cuttings. 

* The line is from Virgil's Georgics, 2.1.59: "Apples dwindle, forgetting their former 


for the owne mother to nource the owne child. Whyche yf it maye be 
done, it shall be moost commendable and holsome; yf not ye must be 
well advysed in takyng of a nource not of yll complexion and of worse 
maners, but suche as shall be sobre, honest and chaste, well fourmed, 
amyable and chearefuU, so that she maye accustome the infant unto 
myrthe, no dronkarde, vycyous nor sluttysshe, for suche corrupteth the 
nature of the chylde. But an honest woman (suche as had a man chylde 
last afore is best) not within two monethes after her delyveraunce, nor 
approchynge nere unto her tyme agayne. These thynges ought to be 
consydred of every wyse person that wyll set theyr chyldren out to 

Moreover, it is good to loke upon the mylke, and to see whether it 
be thycke and grosse or too moche thynne and watrye, blackysshe or 
blewe, or enclynyng to reddnesse or yelowe, for all suche are unnaturall 
and evyll. Lykewyse when ye taste it in youre mouthe, yf it be eyther 
bytter, sake, or soure, ye may well perceyve it is unholsome. 

That mylke is good that is whyte and sweete, and when ye droppe 
it on your nayle, and do move your fynger, neyther fleteth abrode at 
every stering nor wyll hange faste upon your nayle when ye turne it 
downeward; but that whyche is betwene bothe is best.^ 

Sometyme it chaunceth that the mylke wasteth, so that the nource 
can not have sufficient to susteyne the child, for the which I wyl declare 
remedyes, leavynge out the causes for brevitie of tyme. 

Remedy es appropriate to the encreasyng 
of mylke in the brestes, 

Parsneppe rootes and fenelle rootes, sodden in broth of chyckens and 
afterward eaten wyth a lyttle f ressh butter, maketh encrease of mylke 
within the brestes. 

' To check for consistency of the milk, this "nail test" was still performed well into the 
twentieth century. In Jonas's 1540 translation of The Byrth of Mankynde (which Phaer fol- 
lows closely throughout this early section on nursing), Roesslin reports: 

That mylke is beste and moste to be chosen of the whiche a drop beynge mylked 
softely on the nail of the thombe, holdyng your fynger styll, it rolleth not of[f] 
neyther fl^tteth abrode; but yf ye move your hand a lyttell it will slyde of[f] by 
and by (04v-Plr). 

According to Ruhrah (158), the procedure may have originated with Soranus of Ephesus 
(98-138 ad), an early medical authority on a wide range of topics including obstetrics and 


An Other. 
The pouder of earth wormes, dryed and dronken in the brothe of a 
neates^° tonge, is a singuler experiment for the same intent. 

Also the broth of an olde cocke, wyth myntes, cynamome and maces. 

Ryse also, sodden in cowes mylke wyth the cromes of whyte breed, 
fenel seede in pouder, and a lytle sugre, is excedyng good. 

An other good medicyne for the same. 
Take Christall,^^ and make it in fyne pouder, and myxt it wyth as 
moche fenell seede and sugre, and use to drynke it warme with a lytle 

A play stre for the encrease of mylke. 
Take fenelle and hoorehounde, of every one two handefulles, anys seede 
foure drammes, Saffron a scruple in poudre, swete butter thre ounces; 
seeth them in water, and make a playstre to be layed upon the nurces 

These thynges have propertye to augment the mylke: dylle, anyse 
seede, fenelle, cristal, horehounde, fresh chese, honye, lettuse, beetes, 
myntes, carette rootes, parsneppes, the dugges or ydder of a cowe or a 
shepe, gootes mylke, blaunched almondes, ryce porryge, a cowes tounge 
dryed and made in pouder, poched egges, saffron, and the juce of rosted 
veale dronken. 

Thus moche of the nource and of the mylke; nowe wyll I declare the 
infirmities of chyldren. 

Althoughe (as affirmeth Plinie) there be innumerable passions and 
diseases whereunto the bodye of man is subjecte, and as well maye 
chaunce in the yonge as in the olde, yet for mooste commonlye the 
tender age of chyldren is chefely vexed and greved with these diseases 

Aposteme of the brayne. 
Swellyng of the heed. 
Scalles of the heed. 
Watchyng out of measure. 
Terrible dreames. 
The fallyng evyll. 

'° i.e., ox, cow, or heifer. 
" i.e., quartz. 


The palsye. 


Styfnesse of lymmes. 

Bloodshotten eyes. 

Watryng eyes. 

Scabbynesse and ytche. 

Diseases in the eares. 

Nesyng out of measure. 

Bredyng of teeth. 

Cankre in the mouth. 

Quynsye, or swellyng of throte. 


Straytnesse of wynde. 

Feblenesse of the stomake and vomytyng. 

Yeaxyng or hycket. 

Colyke and romblyng in the guttes. 

Fluxe of the belly. 

Stoppyng of the bellye. 


Swellyng of the navyll. 

The stone. 

Pyssyng in bedde. 


Fallyng of the fundament. 

Chafyng of the skynne. 

Small pockes and measels. 


Swellyng of the coddes. 

Sacer ignis or chingles. 

Burnyng and scaldyng. 




Gogle eyes. 

Ofaposteme of the brayne. 

In the filme that covereth the brayn chaunceth oftentymes apostemation 
and swellyng, eyther of too moche crying of the chylde, or by reason of 
the mylke immoderatelye hote, or excesse of heate in the blood, or of 
cold fleume, and is knowen by these sygnes: 


If it be of hote matter, the heed of the chylde is unnaturally swollen, 
redde and hote in the feelynge; if it come of colde matter, it is somwhat 
swollen, pale and colde in the touchyng; but in bothe cases the chylde 
can not reste and is ever lothe to have hys heed touched, cryeth and 
vexeth it selfe as it were in a frenesye. 

Make a bath of mallowes, camomylle, and lyllyes, sodden wyth a shepes 
heed tyll the bones fall, and with a sponge or soft cloutes^^ al to bathe 
the heed of the chylde in a colde aposteme wyth the brothe hote as 
maye be suffered; but in a hote matter, wyth the brothe luke warme, or 
in the coolynge, and after the bath, set on a playstre thus. 

A playstre. 
Take fenugreke, camomyll, wormwood, of every one an handfull, seethe 
them in a close vessell tyll the thyrde part be consumed, then stampe 
them in a mortar and styrre them; to the which ye shall put of the same 
brothe agayne ynough to make a playstre, with a lytle beane floure, 
yolkes of egges and saffron, addyng to them fresh butter or duckes grese 
suffycient, and applye it. In a colde matter, lette it lye a day; but in a 
hote cause ye must remove it every syxe houres. 

Of swellyng of the heed. 

Inflation, or swellynge of the heed, commeth of a wyndye matter gath- 
ered betwene the skynne and the flesh, and sometyme betwene the 
fleshe and the boones of the scuUe, the tokens wherof are manifest 
ynough to the syght by the swellynge or puffing up; and pressed with 
the fynger, there remayneth a prynte whyche is a sygne of wynde and 
viscous humours; ye shall heale it thus. 

Fyrst, let the nourse avoyde al thinges that engendre wynde, salt or 
slymy humours, as beanes, peason, eles, sammon, saltfyshe, and lyke; 
then make a playster to the chyldes heed, after this fashion: 

Take an handefuU of fenell, smallache and dylle, and seethe them in 
water in a close vessell; afterwarde stampe them, and wyth a lytle cu- 

'^ cloths, or compresses. 


myne and oyle of bytter almondes, make it uppe and laye it often to the 
chyldes heed, warme. In default of oyle of almons take gosegrese, add- 
yng a litle vynegre. 

And it is good to bathe the place with a softe cloute or a sponge in 
the broth of these herbes: rue, tyme, majorym, hysope, fenelle, dylle, co- 
myne, sal nitre, myntes, radysh rotes, rocket, or some of them, ever tak- 
ynge heede that there droppe no portion of the medycynes in the babes 
eyes, mouthe, or eares. 

Scalles of the heed. 

The heedes of chyldren are oftentymes ulcered and scalled, as well when 
they sucke, and then mooste commonlye by reason of sharpe mylke, as 
also when they have bene weaned and can go aloone. Sometymes it hap- 
peneth of an evyll complexion of humours by eatynge of rawe frute or 
other evyll meates, and sometyme by longe continuynge in the sonne, 
manye tymes by droppynge of restye bacon or of sake beefe on theyr 
bare heedes. ^^ 

Otherwhyles, they be so borne oute of their mothers wombe; and in 
all these is no greate difficultie tyl the heere be growen. But after that, 
they requyre a greater cure and a connyng hande; notwythstandynge, as 
God shall' gyve me grace, here shal be sayde remedyes for the cure of 
them, suche as have ben oftentymes approved, wherein I have entended 
to omytte the disputations of the dyfference of scalles, and the humours 
whereof they do proceade, and wyll go strayght to the composition of 
medicynes, folowynge the good experyence here ensuynge. 

Remedyes for scalles. 
Yf ye see the scalles lyke the shelles of oysters, blacke and drye, cleav- 
ynge upon the skynne one within an other, ye maye make a fomenta- 
tion of hoote and moyste herbes, as fenugreke, holyhocke, beares 
breache, lyneseede, and suche other, sodden al or some of them in the 
brothe of netes feete, and so to bathe the sores; and after that applye a 

'^ On this point, Neale and Wallis (8) speculated about accidents in the home. In their 
1957 reprint, they report the following communication: 

Mr D. F. Lewis, of London, has written about the dropping of the restye bacon, 
. . . and points out that it was not the joints themselves, but drops and fragments 
which fell. He adds that in remote parts of Wales old women still wear caps in- 
doors to save them from baldness, which might be induced by contact with bacon 
and ham. It may be that ringworm was sometimes transmitted in this way (10). 


softe playstre of the same herbes, and gosegrese or butter, usynge this 
styll tyll ye see the scabbe removed, and then wasshe it with the juce of 
horehounde, smallache and betony, sodden togyther in wyne; and after 
the wasshynge put upon it pouder of myrre, aloes and frankensence, or 
holde hys heed over a chafyngdysshe of coles wherin ye shall put fran- 
kensence and Saunders in pouder. But if ye see the scabbes be verye sore 
and matrye with great payne and burnynge of the heed, ye shall make 
an oyntment to coole the matter thus. 

An oyntment to coole the humynge 
of a sore heade. 
Take whyte leade and lytarge,^"^ of everye one .v. drammes, lye made 
of the asshes of a vyne .iii. drammes, oyle of roses an ounce, waxe an 
ounce; melte the waxe fyrst, then putte to the oyle and lye wyth the 
reste, and in the ende .ii. yolkes of egges; make an oyntmente and laye 
it to the head. Thys is the composition of Rasis. 

An other oyntment singuler for 
the same pourpose. 
Take betonye, grounswel, plantayn, fumytorie, and daysies, of every one 
lyke moche; stampe them, and myngle them with a pounde of fresshe 
swynes grece, and lette them stande closed in a moyst place .viii. dayes 
to putrify; then frye them in a panne, and strayne them into a cleane 
vessell; and ye shall have a grene oyntmente of a singuler operation for 
the sayde dysease and to quenche all unkind heates of the bodye. 

Also ye muste use to shave the head, whatsoever thynges ye doo laye 
unto it. 

If there lacketh cleansyng of the sores, and the chylde weaned, ye 
shall do wel to make an oyntment of a lytle turpentyne, bulles gall, and 
hony, and lay upon the sores. 

Also it is proved that the uryne of a bulle is a singuler remedy to 
mundifie the sores and to lose the heares by the rootes without any 
peyne or pille. 

The juyce also of morell, daysie leaves, and groundswell, fryed wyth 
grece and made in an oyntmente, cooleth all unkynde heates and pustles 
of the heade. 

Here is to be noted that, durynge thys dysease in a suckynge chylde, 
the nourse muste avoyde all sake and sower meates that engender chol- 

'* lead protoxide. 


ere, as mustarde, vynegre and such, and all maner frutes (excepte a 
pomegranat); and she must abstayne in this case both from egges and 
frome other kynde of whyte meates in general; and above al she maye 
eate no dates, figges, nor purcelane, for manye holde opynion that pur- 
celane hath an evylle propertye to breede scabbes and ulcers in the head. 
Moreover the childes head may not be kepte too bote, for that is often- 
tymes the cause of thys dysease. 

Sometymes it chaunceth that there breadeth in the heade of chyldren 
as it were litle wartes or knobbes somwhat harde, and can not be re- 
solved by the sayde medicines. Wherefore when ye see that none other 
thynge wyll healpe, ye shall make an good oyntmente to remove it, in 
maner as hereafter is declared. 

An excellent remedye for wartes or knobbes 
of the head. 
Take lytarge and whyte lead, of eche a lyke quantitie, brymstone^^ and 
quycksylver quenched wyth spyttle, of eche a lesse quantitie, twyse as 
moch oyle of roses, and a sponefull or .ii. of vynegre; mixe them all 
togyther on a marble til they be an oyntment, and laye it on the head; 
and whan it hath ben drye an houre or .ii. wasshe it off with water 
wherein was sodden majprym, savery, and mintes; use it thus twyse a 
daye, mornynge and evenynge, tylle ye see it whole. This thyng is also 
good in all the other kind of scalles. 

Ofwatchyng out of measure. 

Slepe is the nouryshment and foode of a suckyng chylde, and as much 
requisyte as the very tete; wherfore whan it is depryved of the naturalle 
reste, all the whole bodye falleth in distemper, cruditie, and wekenes. It 
procedeth commonly by corruption of the milke, or too moch aboun- 
dans, whyche overladeth the stomacke, and, for lacke of good dygestion, 
vapoures and fumes aryse into the head and infect the brayne, by reason 
wherof the chyld can not slepe but turneth and vexeth it selfe with 
cryeng. Therfore it shall be good to provoke it to a naturall sleepe thus, 
accordyng to Rasis. 

Annoynte the forehead and temples of the chylde wyth oyle of vyo- 
lettes and vynegre, puttynge a droppe or .ii. into the nosethrylles. And 

'^ sulphur. 


yf ye can get anye syrupe of poppye, gyve it the chylde to lycke, and 
then make a playstre of oyle of saffron, lettuse, and the juyce of poppie, 
or wet cloutes in it, and lay it overthwarte the temples. 

Also the seades and the heades of popie, called chessbolles, stamped 
wyth rosewater and myxte wyth womans mylke and the whyte of an 
egge beaten all togyther and made in a playster, causeth the chylde to re- 
ceyve hys naturall slepe. 

Also an oyntmente made of the seede of popie and the heades, one 
ounce, oyle of lettuse and of popie, of eche .ii. ounces; make an oynt- 
mente and use it. 

They that can not gette these oyles maye take the'herbes or juyce of 
lettuse, purcelane, houseleke, and popie; and with womans mylke make 
a playster, and laye it to the foreheade. 

Oyle of vyolettes, of roses, of nenuphar, are good, and oyle of popu- 
leon, the broth of mallowes sodden, and the juyce of water plantayne. 

Of terry ble dreames and feare 
in the sleape. 

Oftentymes it happeneth that the chyld is afrayde in the slepe, and 
somtymes waketh sodaynlye and sterteth, sometyme shryketh and trem- 
bleth, whyche affecte commeth of the arysynge of stynkynge vapoures 
oute of the stomacke into the fantasye and sences of the brayne, as ye 
may perceyve by the breath of the childe wherfore it is good to gyve 
hym a lytle hony to swallowe, and a lytle pouder of the seedes of 
peony, and sometymes tryacle in a lytle quantitie wyth mylk, and to 
take hede that the chylde slepe not wyth a full stomake, but to beare it 
aboute wakynge tyll parte be dygested, and whan that it is layde, not to 
rocke it moche, for overmoche shakynge letteth^^ dygestion and mak- 
eth the chyld manye tymes to vomyte. 

The fallynge evylle called in the 
Greke tonge epilepsia. 

Not only other ages but also lytle chylderne are oftentymes afflicted 
wyth thys grevous sycknes, somtyme by nature receyved of the par- 
entes, and then it is impossyble or dyfficile to cure, sometyme by evyl 

hinders, impedes. 


and unholsome dyete, whereby there is engendred many colde and 
moyst humors in the brayne wherupon thys infirmitie procedeth; 
whych yf it be in one that is younge and tender, it is verye harde to be 
removed, but in them that are somewhat stronge, as of .vii. yeres and 
upwarde, it is more easye. 

I fynde that manye thynges have a naturall vertue agaynste the 
fallyng evell, not of any quaHty elemental but by a singuler propertie, or 
rather an influence of heaven, whyche almyghtye God hath gyven unto 
thynges here in earth, as be these and other: 

Saphires, smaragdes,^^ redde coral, pyonie, mystletow of the oke 
taken in the monethe of Marche and the moone decreasynge, tyme, 
savein, dylle, arid the stone that is founde in the bellye of a yong swal- 
low, beyng the fyrste broode of the dame. These, or one of them, 
hanged about the necke of the childe saveth and preserveth it from the 
sayde syckenes. Nowe wyl I descrybe some good and holsome medicines 
to be taken inward for the same dysease. 

If the chylde be not very younge, the mawe of a leveret, dronke with 
water and honye cureth the same. 

A medicine for the fallinge syckenes. 
Take the roote of pyony and make it into pouder, and gyve it to the 
chylde to lycke in a lytle pappe and suger. They that are of age maye 
eate of it a good quantitie at ones and lykewise of the blacke seedes of 
the same pyonie. 

Item, the purple violettes that crepeth on the grounde in gardeynes 
wyth a longe stalke, and is called in Englysh hartesease, dronken in 
water or in water and honye, helpeth thys dysease in a young chylde. 

Moreover the muscle of the oke, rased and gyven in mylke or in 
water and honye, is good. 

Also ye maye dystylle a water of the floures of lynd; it is a tree 
called in Latyne tilia, the same wherof they make ropes and halters of 
the barke; take the same floures and dystyll a water, and lette the pa- 
cient drynke of it nowe and then a sponefuU; it is a good remedye. 

Item, the rote of the sea thystle called Eringium in Latyne, eaten in 
broth or dronken. 

Some wryte that cicorie is a singuler remedye for the same dysease. 
It is mente by wylde cicorie, growyng in the cornes. 

'^ emeralds. 


The floures of rosemarye, made in a conserva, hath the same effecte 
im curynge this dysease. 

I coulde declare many other remedies commended of authours, but 
at thys tyme these shall be sufficient. 

Nowe I wylle entreate somewhat of the palsey. 

Ofthepalseye or shaky nge ofmembres. 

The cure of the palsey in a chyld is not lyke to that whyche is in elder 
age, for the synowes of a chylde be verye nesshe^^ and tender, and.ther- 
fore they ought to have a moch weacker medicyne, evermore regard- 
ynge the power of the syckenes and the vertue or debilitie of the greved 

For some tymes the chylde can not lyfte nother legges nor armes, 
whiche, yf it happen durynge the suckyng, then must the nource use a 
dyet enclyning to hote and drye, and to eate spyces as galingale, cina- 
mome, gynger, macis, nutmygges, and suche other wyth rosted and 
fryed meates, but abstayne frome mylke and al maner fysshe. And it 
shal be good for her to eate a lectuary made after thys sorte. 

Take myntes, cynamome, cumyne, roseleaves dryed, mastyke, fenu- 
greke, valerian, ameos doronici, zedoary, cloves, saunders, and lignum 
aloes, of everye one a dramme, muske halfe one dramme; make an 
electuarye wyth clarifyed honye, and let her eate of it, and gyve the 
chylde as much as halfe a nut every daye to swalowe. 

A playster. 
Take an ounce of waxe and a dramme of euphorbium at the potecaries, 
and temper it wyth oyle olyve on the fyer, and make a sereclothe to 
comforte the backe bone and the synewes. 

A goodly lavatory for the same 


Take lye of asshes, and seth therein baye buries and as moch pionie 

seedes in a close vessel to the thyrde parte, and wasshe the chylde often 

with the same. 

Item, a bathe of saverye, majorym, tyme, sage, nepte, smallage, and 

^^ The OED defines "nesh" as "Soft in texture or consistency; yielding easily to pressure 
or force." It cites Phaer's use here as early instance. 


myntes, or some of them, is very good and holesome. 

Also to rubbe the backe of the chylde, and the lymmes, wyth oyles 
of roses and spyke myxte togyther warme; and in stede of it ye may 
take oyle of bayes. 

Of the crampe or spasmus, 

Thys disease is often sene among chyldren, and commethe verye light- 
lye, as of debilitye of the nerves and cordes or els of grosse humours 
that suffocate the same; the cure of the whyche is declared of authours 
to be done by frictions and oyntmentes that comfort the synowes and 
dyssolve the matter, as oyle of floure de luyce, wyth a lytle anyse, sa- 
ffron, and the rootes of pyonye. Item, oyle of camomyll, fenugreke, and 
mellilote, or the herbes sodden, betonie, wormwood, verveyne, and 
tyme, are excedynge good to washe the chylde in. 

Item, the playster of euphorbium, written in the cure of palsey. 

Of the sty fries or starknes 
of lymmes. 

Sometyme it hapeneth that the lymmes are starke and can not well 
come togyther wythoute the greater peyne, whyche thynge procedeth 
many tymes of colde as whan a chylde is founde in the frost or in the 
strete, caste awaye by a wycked mother or by some other chaunce; al- 
though I am not ignorant that it may procede of manye other causes, as 
it is sayde of Rasis and of Arnolde de Villa Nova in hys booke of the 
cure of infantes. 

And here is to be noted a wounderfulle secrete of nature, manye 
tymes approved, wrytten of Avicenne in hys fyrste Canon, and of Ce- 
lius Antiquarum electionum, libro. xiii. capit. xxxvi. that whan a mem- 
bre is utterly benummed and taken thorough colde, so that the paciente 
can not feele hys lymmes nor moove them accordynge to nature by 
reason of the vehement congelation of the blood, in suche case the chye- 
fest helpe or remedie is not to sette them to the fyer to receyve heate, 
for by that meanes lyghtlye we see that every one swowneth and many 
dye oute ryghte, but to sette the fete, legges, and armes in a payle of 
clere colde water, whyche immediatlye shal dissolve the congelation and 
restore the bloode to the former passage and fredome; after that ye may 
laye the pacient in a bedde to sweate, and gyve hym bote drynke and 


cawdels,^^ or a coleys^° of a capon hote, wyth a lytle cynamome and saf- 
fron to comforte the harte. An argumente of this cure ye maye see thus: 

When an apple or a pere is frosen in the wynter, sette it to the fyer 
and it is destroyed; but yf ye putte it into colde water, it shall as well 
endure as it dyd afore; whereby it doth appere that the water resolveth 
colde better wyth his moysture than the fyer can do by reason of hys 
heate, for the water relenteth and the fyer draweth and dryeth, as af- 
fyrmeth Galiene in hys booke of elementes. 

Hytherto have I declyned by occasion, but I truste not in vayne to 
the reder. Nowe to my purpose. 

When a yonge chylde is so taken with a colde, I esteme it best for to 
bathe the bodye in luke warme water wherein hath ben sodden majo- 
rym and tyme, ysope, sage, myntes, and suche other good and comforta- 
ble herbes, then to releve it wyth meates of good nouryshment accord- 
yng to the age and necessitie, and, yf nede be, when ye see the lymmes 
yet to be starke, make an oyntment after this fourme. 

An oyntment for styffe and 
stoyned lymmes. 
Take a good handfuU of nettle and stampe them, then seeth them in oyle to 
the thyrde parte in a double vessel; kepe that oyntment in a drye place, for 
it wyl last a great whyle and is a singuler remedye for the styfnesse that 
commeth of cold, and whoso anoynteth his handes and feete with it in the 
mornynge shall not be greved wyth colde all the daye after. 

The seedes of nettles gathered in harvest and kept for the same en- 
tent is excedyng good, sodden in oyle or fryed with swynes grese; 
whych thyng also is very good to heale the kybbes of heeles,^^ called 
in Latyn Perniones. 

The uryne of a goote, with the donge stamped and layed to the 
place, resolveth the styfnesse of lymmes. 

When the cause commeth not by extreme colde but of some other 
affection of the synowes and cordes, it is best to make a bath or a fo- 
mentation of herbes that resolve and comfort the synowes with relax- 
ation of the grosse humours, and to open the pores as by example thus: 
Take malowes, holyhocke, and dyll, of eche a handful or two, seeth 

" i.e., caudles; gruels, often spiced and mixed with wine and beer. 

^° i.e., cullis; a strong meat broth. 

^' i.e., chilblains: inflammatory swelling produced by exposure to cold. A "kibe" is a 
chapped or ulcerated chilblain, usually occurring on the heel. The OED cites Phaer's use 
here. See Phaer's particular treatment "Of kybes" (73-74). 


them in the water of netes feete, or in broth of flesh wythout sah wyth 
a handful! of bran and comyne, in the which ye shall bathe the chylde 
as warme as he may suffre; and yf ye see necessitie, make a playstre 
wyth the same herbes and laye it to the griefe wyth a lytle gosegrese or 
duckes grese or, yf it maye be gotten, oyle of camomylle, of lylyes, and 
of dylle. Cloutes wette in the sayde decoction, and layed about the 
membres, helpeth. 

Of bloodshotten eyes, and other 

Somtyme the 6yes are bloodshotten, and other whyles encreasyng a 
fylthye and whyte humoure coverynge the syght; the cause is often of 
too moche crying, for the which it is good to drop in the eyes a lytle of 
the juce of nyghtshade, otherwyse called morel, and to anoynt the for- 
heed with the same, and yf the eye swell, to wette a cloute in the juce 
and the whyte of egges, and laye it to the grefe. 

If the humour be clammysshe and tough and cleveth to the corners of 
the eyes so that the chylde can not open them after his slepe, it shall be 
removed with the juce of houseleeke dropped on the eye with a fether. 

When the eye is bloodshotten and redde, it is a synguler remedye to 
put in it the bloode of a yonge pigion or a dove or a partryche, eyther 
bote from the byrde or els dried and made in pouder as subtyle as maye 
be possyble. 

A playstre for swellyng and payne 
of the eyes. 
Take quynces and cromes of whyte bread and seeth them in water tyl 
they be softe, then stampe them, and, wyth a lytle saffron and the 
yolkes of two egges, make a playstre to the childes eyes and foreheed. 
Ye maye let hym also to receyve the fume of that decoction. It is also 
good in the meygrym. Yf ye wyl have further, loke in The Regyment of 
Lyfe in the declaration of paynes of the heed.^^ 

" The first chapter of Goeurot's The Regiment of Lyfe concerns "sycknesse and 
remedyes of the heed." Phaer translates the section on "meygrym" thus: 

There is nothyng that is so convenient for the meygrym as tranquillitie and rest, 
and let al thinges pase that move the venue animall, as great musynges and all 
laboure of the spyrites. And chefely one ought after dynner to kepe hym from all 
thynges that trouble the memorye, as studyinge, readynge, wrytyng, and other lyke 


Ofwatrynge eyes. 

If the chyldes eyes water overmoche wythout crying, by reason of a dis- 
tillation commyng from the heed, Manardus teacheth a goodly playstre 
to restrayne the reumes, and is made thus: 

Hartes home brente to pouder and wasshed twyse, guaiacum, other- 
wyse called lignum sanctum, corticum thuris, antimonye, of eche one 
part, muske, the .iii. parte of one parte; make a fyne pouder and use it 
with the juce or water of fenell. 

These thynges have vertue to staunche the rennyng of eyes: the 
shelles of snayles brent, the tycke that is found in the dugges of kyne, 
philipendula, frankensence and the whyte of a egge layed upon the fore- 
heed, flewort or the water wherin it is steped, tutie,^^ the water of 
buddes of oke stylled, beanefloure fynelye syfted, and with the gumme 
of a cherytree steped in vinegre and layd over al the temples. 

Of scabbynesse and ytche. 

Sometyme by reason of excesse of heate, or sharpenesse in the mylke 
throughe the nourses eatyng of salt and eygre meates, it happeneth that 
a chyld is sene ful of ytch by rubbing, fretyng, and chafynge of it selfe, 
encreaseth a scabbe called of the Grekes Psora: whyche thynge also 
chaunceth unto many after they be weaned, proceding of salt and 
adust^"^ humoures; the cure whereof dyffereth in none other but accordyng 
to the difference of age, for in a suckyng babe the medicines may not be so 
sharpe as it maye be suffered in one that is all readye weaned. Agaynste 
suche unkynde ytche, ye maye make an oyntment thus. 

Take water betony, .ii. good handfuUes, daysye leaves and alehofe 
otherwyse called tumnour or grounde yvye, of eche one handfuU, the 
red docke rootes, two or thre; stampe them all togyther and grynde 
them well, then myngle them wyth fresshe grese and agayne stampe 
them. Lette them so stande .viii. dayes to putrifye tyll it be hore, then 
frye them out and strayne them and kepe it for the same entent. 

This oyntment hath a greate effecte both in yonge and olde, and that 
wythout repercussion or dryving backe of the matter whyche shoulde 
be a peryllouse thynge in a yonge chylde. 

^* inordinately dry. 


The herbe water betonye alone is a great medicyne to quenche all 
unkynde heates without daunger, or the sethyng of it in cleare welle 
water to annoynte the membres. It is a comon herbe, and groweth by 
ryvers sydes and smal rennyng waters and wette places, arysing many 
tymes the heygth of a man out of the grounde, where he rejoyseth wyth 
a stalke foure square and many braunches on every syde; and also it 
beareth a whytysh blewe flowre very small, and in harvest it hath innu- 
merable seedes, blacke and as fyne as the seede of tutsone or lesse; the 
leves bygge and long accordyng to the grounde, full of juyce, jagged on 
the sydes lyke a sawe even as other betonye to whome it approcheth in 
figure, and obteineth his name of water betonye. The savoure of the 
leafe is somewhat heavye, mooste lyke to the savour of elders or wal- 
wort, but when it is brused it is more pleasaunt; whyche thyng induceth 
me to vary from the myndes of them that thynke thys herbe to be 
Galiopsis in Dioscorides, wrytten of hym that it shoulde stynke when 
it is stamped. But the more thys herbe is stamped, the more swete and 
herbelyke it savour eth. Therfore it can not be galiopsis; and besydes 
that, it is never founde in drye and stony grounde as the Galiopsis is. 
Neyther is thys herbe mencyoned of the newe or olde authours, as farre 
as I can see, but of onely Vigo, the famous surgyon of our tyme in 
Italye, whyche wryteth on it that thys herbe exceadeth all other in a 
malo mortuo (so calleth he a kynde of leprye elephantyk or an universal 
and fylthye scabbe of all the bodye); and in lyke maner, he sayeth it is 
good for to cure a canker in the breastes. Ye maye reade these thynges 
in his second boke, Capitul .iii., and hys fyfth booke of the Frenche 
pockes, in the thyrde chapiter, where he doth descrybe thys aforesayd 
herbe wyth so manyfeste tokens that no man wyll doubt it to be water 
betonye, conferryng the boke and the herbe duly togyther. Moreover he 
nameth in Italye a brydge where it groweth in the water in greate 
aboundaunce, and called of that nacyon Alabeveratore, whych indede 
the Italyons that come hyther, and knowe bothe the place and the 
herbe, do affyrme playnely it is our water betonye. 

And whereas he allegeth Dioscorides in clymeno, whych by contem- 
plation of both hath but small affinitie or none wyth thys herbe, it was 
for nothynge els but lacke of the tonges, which faulte is not to be so 
hyghly rebuked in a man of his studye, applyinge hymselfe more to the 
practyse of surgerye and to handye operation, wherein indede he was 
nere incomparable, than he dyd to search the varyaunce of tonges, and 
rather regarded to declare the operation of thynges wyth truthe than to 
despute upon the propertyes of names with eloquence. 


Thus have I declyned agayne from my matter, partly to shewe the 
descryption of this holesome herbe, partely to satysfye the myndes of 
the surgions in Vigo, whyche have hytherto redde the sayde places in 
vayne, and furthermore bycause there is yet none that declareth mani- 
festly the same herbe. 

An other remedye for scabbes 
and ytche. 
Take the rootes of dockes and frye them in fresh grese, then put to it a 
quantitye of brymstone in pouder and use to rubbe the places twyse or 
thryse a day. Brimstone poudred and souped in a rere egge healeth the 
scabbes, whych thyng is also very good to destroye wormes. 

A goddly swete sope for scabbes 
and ytche. 
Take whyte sope halfe a pounde and stepe it in suffycient rosewater tyl 
it be well soked; then take two drammes of mercurye sublymed, dis- 
solve it in a lytle rosewater, labour the sope and the rosewater wel to- 
gether, and afterward put in it a lytle muske or cyvette^^ and kepe it. 
This sope is excedynge good to cure a greate scabbe or ytche, and that 
wythoute peryll, but in a chylde it shall suffyce to make it weaker of 
the mercurye. 

An other approved medicyne for 
scabbynesse and ytche. 
Take fumyterrie, docke rootes, scabiouse, and the roote of walwort, 
stampe them all and set them in freshe grese to putrifye; then frye them 
and strayne them, in whych lycour ye shal put turpentine a lytle quanti- 
tie, brymstone and frankensence very fynely poudred and syfted a por- 
tion; and with suffycient waxe make an oyntment on a softe fyre. Thys 
is a synguler remedy for the same purpose. But in thys cure ye ought to 
gyve the chylde no egges nor anye eygre or sharpe meat; and the nurse 
also must avoyde the same, and not to wrappe it in too hoote, and yf 
neade be, to make a bath of fumyterrye, centaurye, fetherfewe, tansye, 
wormewood, and sauce, alone yf ye see the cause of the ytche or the 
scabbe to be wormes in the skynne, for a bytter decoction shal destroy 
them and drye up the moystures of the sores. 

^ i.e., civet; musky perfuming substance obtained from anal glands of the civet cat 
{Civettica civetta) of central Africa. 


Of diseases in the eares. 

Many dyseases happen in the eares, as payne, apostemes, swellynges, 
tynclyng and sound in the heed, stoppyng of the organes of hearynge, 
water, wormes, and other infortunes gotten into the eares; wherof some 
of them are daungerous and harde to be cured, some other expelled of 
nature without medicyne. 

Remedye for payne in the eares. 
For payne in the eares withoute a manifest cause, as often chaunceth, it 
is a singuler remedye to take the chest wormes that are founde under 
barkes of trees or in other stompes in the ground, and wyll tourne 
rounde lyke a pease. Take of them a good quantytye and seeth them in 
oyle in the rynde of a pomegranade on the hote ymbres that it brenne 
not, and after that stray ne it and put into the eares a droppe or two luke 
warme; and then lette hym lye upon the other eare and reste. Ye maye 
gyve thys to all ages, but in a chylde ye must put a very lytle quantitie. 

An other. 
The hame or skynne of an adder or a snake that she casteth, boyled in 
oyle and dropped into the eares, easeth the payne; and it is also good for 
an eare that mattereth,^^ myngled with a lytle honye and put in luke 
warme. It is also good to droppe into the eares the juyce of organye and 

For swellyng under the eares. 
Paynters oyle, whych is oyle of lyne seed, is excedyng good for the 
swellyng of the eares and for payne in the eares of all causes. 

Item, a playstre made of lyneseede and dylle with a lytle duckes grese 
and honye. 

Yf ye see the aposteme breake and renne, ye maye dense it with the 
juce of smallach, the whyte of an egge, barly floure and honye, which is 
a comon playstre to mundifye a sore. 

When the eares have receyved water or any other licour, it is good 
to take and stampe an onyon and wryng out the juce with a lytle 
gosegrese, and droppe it hote into the eare as it may be suffred and laye 
hym dowjie on the contrarye syde an houre. After that, cause hym to 

^^ i.e., to discharge matter; to suppurate. The OED cites Phaer's use. 


nese,^^ yf hys age wyll suffre, wyth a lytle pellitorie of Spayne or nes- 
yng pouder, and then enclyne hys eare downewarde that the water maye 

For wormes in the eares. 
Take myrre, aloes, and the seede of colocynthis, called coloquintida of 
the apothecaries, a quantitie of eche, seethe them in oyle of roses and 
put a lytle in the ears. 

Myrre hath a great vertue to remove the stynche that is caused in the 
eares by any putrefaction; and the better wyth oyle of bytter almondes, 
or ye may take the juce of wormewood wyth hony and salt peter. 

For wynde in the eares and tynklynge. 
Take myrre, spykenarde, cummyne, dylle, and oyle of camomylle, and 
put a droppe in the eares. They that have not all these maye take some 
of them and applye it accordyng to discretion. 

To amende deafnesse, ye shall make an oyntment of an hares galle 
and the grese or droppyng of an ele, which is a soverayne thyng to 
recover hearyng. 

Ofnesyng out of measure. 

When a chylde neseth oute of measure, that is to saye with a longe con- 
tinuance and therby the brayne and vertues animall be infebled, it is 
good to stoppe it to avoyde a further inconvenyence. 

Wherfore ye shall annoynt the heade wyth the juyce of purcelane, 
sorell, and nyghtshade, or some of them; and make a playster of the 
whyte of an egge and the juyce, wyth a lytle oyle of roses, and emplay- 
ster the forheade and temples wyth the mylke of a woman, oyle of 
roses, and vynegre a lytle. 

If it come of a colde reume, ye shall make a playster of mastyke, 
frankynsens, myrre, wyne, and applye it to the former parte of the head. 
A fume of the same receyved in flaxe, and layed upon the chyldes head, 
is holsome. 


Breedynge of teeth. 

About the seventh moneth, somtyme more, sometyme lesse, after the 
byrthe, it is natural for a chylde for to breede teeth; in which time 
many one is sore vexed wyth sondrye dyseases and peynes, as swellynge 
of the gummes and jawes, unquyete cryenge, fevers, crampes, palsies, 
fluxes, reumes, and other infyrmities, speciallye whan it is longe or the 
teeth come fourth, for the soner they apere, the better and more ease it 
is to the chylde. 

There be dyvers thynges that are good to procure an easy breedyng 
of teeth, among whom the chyefest is to annoynt the gummes wyth the 
braynes of an hare myxte wyth as much capons grece and honye; or 
anye of these thynges alone is exceadynge good to supple the gummes 
and the synewes. 

Also it is good to wasshe the chylde two or three tymes in a weeke 
wyth warme water or the decoction of camomyll, hollyhocke, and dylle. 

Fresshe butter wyth a lyttle barlye floure, or honye wyth the fyne 
pouder of frankynsence and liquirice, are commended of good authours 
for the same entent. 

And whan the peyne is greatte and intoUerable wyth aposteme or 
inflammation of the gommes, it is good to make an oyntmente of oyle of 
roses with the juyce of morelle, otherwyse called nyghtshade, and in lacke 
of it, annoynt the jawes wythin wyth a lytle fresshe butter and honye. 

For lacke of the hares brayne ye may take the conyes, for they be also 
of the kynde of hares, and called of Plinye Dasypodes, whose mawes are of 
the same affecte in medicyne or rather more than is wrytten of authoures 
of the mawes of hares. 

If ye see the gommes of the chyld to aposteme or swelle wyth softe 
flesshe full of matter and paynefulle, the beste shall be to annoynt the 
sore place wyth the brayne of an hare and capons grece, equallye myxt 
togyther; and after that ye have used thys ones or twyse, annoynte the 
gommes and apostemations wyth honye. 

Thyrdlye, yf thys helpe not, take turpentyne myxte wyth a lytle 
honye in equal portion, and make a bathe for the head of the chylde in 
thys four me: 

Take the floures of camomyll and dyll, of eche an handeful, seeth 
them in a quarte of pure rennynge water untyl they be tender, and 
wasshe the head afore anye meate every mornynge, for it pourgeth the 
superfluytye of the braynes thorough the seames of the skull, and wyth- 
draweth humours frome the sore place, fynally comforteth the brayne 
and all the vertues anymall of the chyld. 


To cause an easie breedyng of teeth, many thinges are rehersed of 
auctours besydes the premisses: as the fyrste cast teeth of a coke, set in 
sylver and borne; or redde coralle in lyke maner, hanged about the 
necke wheruppon the chylde shulde oftentymes labour his gummes; and 
many other lyke, whyche I leave out at thys tyme to avoyde tediousnes, 
onely content to declare thys of corall: that by consent of all authours 
it resisteth the force of lyghtenynge, helpeth the chyldren of the fallynge 
evyll, and is very good to be made in pouder and dronken agaynst all 
maner of bleedyng of the nose or fundament. 

Of a canker in the mouthe. 

Manytymes by reson of corruption of the mylke, venymous vapoures 
arysynge from the stomake, and of many other infortunes, there chaun- 
ceth to brede a canker in the mouthes of chyldren, whose sygnes are 
manifeste ynough, that is to say by stinkynge of the mouthe, peyne in 
the place, contynuall rennynge of spyttle, swelling of the cheke; and 
when the mouth is opened agaynst the sonne, ye maye see clerelye 
where the canker lyeth. It is so named of the latter sorte of phisitions by 
reason of crepynge and eatynge forwarde and backewarde and spreadeth 
it selfe abrode lyke the feete of a crevis,^^ called in Latyne cancer. Not- 
withstandynge, I knowe that the Greekes and aunciente Latynes gyve 
other names unto this dysease, as in callynge it an ulcer, other whyles 
aphthe, nome, carcinoma, and lyke, whiche are al in Englyshe knowen 
by the name of canker in the mouthe. And although there be many 
kyndes accordyng to the matter wherof they be engendred, and therfore 
requyre a dyversitie of curyng, yet for the most parte whan they be in 
chylderne the cure of them all differeth verye lytle or nothyng. For the 
chyefe entent shall be to remove the malignitye of the sore and to drye 
up the noysome matter and humours, then to mundify and heale as in 
other kyndes of ulcers, sores, and woundes. 

Remedies for the canker in the 

mouthe of chyldren. 

Take drye redde roses and violettes, of eche a lyke quantity, make them 

in pouder and myxte them wyth a lytle honye; thys medycyne is verye 

^* crayfish or crab. 


good in a tender suckynge chylde, and many tymes healeth alone wyth- 
out any other thyng at all. 

But yf ye see there be greate heate and burnynge in the sore with 
excedyng payne, ye shall make a juyce of purselane, lettuse, and nyghte- 
shade, and wasshe the sore wyth a fyne pece of sylke or dryve it in 
wyth a spoute called of the surgions a syrynge. 

Thys, by the grace of God, shall abate the brennynge, aswage the 
peyne, and kyll the venyme of the ulcer. 

But yf ye see the canker yet encrease wyth greate corruption and 
matter, ye shall make an oyntment after this maner: 

Take myrre, galles wherewyth they make ynke, or in defaulte of 
them oken apples dryed, frankynsence, of eche a lyke moche, of the 
blacke bureis growynge on the bramble taken frome the busshe whyle 
they be grene, the thyrde parte of all the reste; make them all in pouder, 
and myxte them wyth as moch honye and saffron as is sufficient, and 
use it. 

A stronger medicine for the canker 
in the mouth of chyldren. 
Take the roote of celidonie dryed, the rynde of a pomegranate, redde 
corall in pouder, and the pouder of a hartes home, of eche a lyke, roche 
alume^^ a lytle; fyrste wasshe the place wyth wyne, or warme water 
and honye, and afterwarde putte on the foresayd pouder very fyne and 

An other singuler medecyne for 
the canker in the mouthe 
of all ages. 
Rx. ysope, sage, rue, of eche one good handefull; sethe them in wyne 
and v/ater to the thyrde part, then strayne them out and putte in it a 
lytle whyte coperose^° accordynge to necessytye; that is to saye, whan 
the sore is greatte putte in the more, whan it is smalle ye maye take the 
lesse; then adde to it a quantitie of honye clarifyed and a sponefull or .ii. 
of good aqua vite; washe the place wyth it, for it is a synguler remedy 
to remoove the malyce in a shorte whyle, whyche done, ye shall make 
a water incarnatyve and healynge thus: 

Rx. rybworte, betonye, and daysies, of eche a handefull; seethe them 

^' rock alum. 

'° zinc protosulphate. 


in wyne and water, and wasshe hys mouthe .ii. or .iii. tymes a day wyth 
the same juce. 

Moreover, some wryte that cristal made in fyne pouder hath a singu- 
ler vertue to destroye the canker; and in lyke maner the pouder of an 
hartes home brent wyth as moche of the rynde of a pomegranade and 
the juyce of nyghtshade is very good and holsome. 

Of quinsy e and swellynge 
of the throte. 

The quinsye is a daungerous syckenes bothe in yonge and olde, called in 
Latyne angina. It is an inflammation of the necke with swellyng and 
great peyne. Somtyme it lyeth in the verye throte upon the wesant pipe, 
and then it is excedyng perillous for it stoppeth the breath and strangu- 
leth the pacient anone. Otherwhyles it breaketh out lyke a bonche on 
the one syde of the necke, and then also with verye great difficultie of 
breathyng; but it choketh not so sone as the fyrste doeth, and it is more 
obedient to receyve curation. The signes are apparaunt to syght, and be- 
sydes that the chylde can not crye, nether swallowe downe hys meat 
and drynke wythout payne. 

It is good to annoynt the grefe with oyle of dylle or oyle of camomyll 
and lylies, and to laye upon the heade bote cloutes dipte in the waters of 
rosemary, lavender, and savery. 

The chyefeste remedye commended of authours in thys outragious 
syckenes is the pouder of a swallowe brent wyth fethers and all and 
myxte wyth honye, whereof the pacient must swallowe downe a lytle, 
and the rest anoynted upon the payne. They prayse also the pouder of 
the chyldes dunge to the chyld, and of a man to a man, brent in a potte 
and anoynted wyth a lytle honye. Somme make a compounded oynt- 
ment of bothe; the receyte is thus: Rx. of the swallowe brent, one por- 
tion; of the second poudre, another; make it in a thycke fourme with 
honye, and it wyll endure longe for the same entent. 

Item, an other experimente for the quinsy and swellynge under the 

Take the musherim that groweth upon an elder tree, called in Eng- 
lysshe Jewes eares (for it is indede croncled and flat, moch lyke an eare), 
heate it agaynst the fyer and put it bote in any drynke; the same drynke 
is good and holsome for the quynsy. 


Some holde opinion that who so useth to drynke wyth it shall never 
be troubled wyth this dysease, and therefore carye it about wyth them 
in jorneys. 

Of the cough. 

The cough in chyldren for the moste parte procedeth eyther of a colde 
or by reason of rewmes descendynge from the head into the pypes of 
the longes or the breast, and that is moste commonlye by overmoche 
aboundaunce of mylke corruptynge the stomake and brayne; therfore, 
in that case it' is good to f eede the child wyth a more slendre dyete and 
to annoynt the heade over wyth honye, and nowe and then to presse his 
tonge with your fynger, holdynge downe his head that the reumes maye 
issue, for by that meanes the cause of the cough shall ren out of hys 
mouth and avoyde the chylde of many noughtie and slymy humours; 
whyche done, many tymes the paciente amendeth wythout any further 
helpe of medicine. 

For the cough in a chylde. 
Take gomme Arabik, .gumme dragagant,^^ quynce seedes, liquyrice, 
and penidies,^^ at the pothecaries; breake them altogyther and gyve the 
chylde to suppe a lytle at ones, wyth a draught of milk newely warme 
as it commeth from the cowe. 

Also, stampe blaunched almons and wrynge them out wyth the juyce 
of fenell, or water of fenell, and gyve it to the chylde to feade wyth a 
lytle suger 

Agaynste the great cough and 
heate in the hodye. 
The heades of whyte poppye and gumme dragagant, of eche a lyke 
moch, longe cucumer seades, as moche as all; seth them in whaye wyth 
raysons and suger, and lette the chylde drynke of it twyse or thryes a 
daye, luke warme or colde. 

■*' i.e., tragacanth. 

" i.e., a stick of barley sugar. 


Of straytenes ofwynde, 

Agaynste the straytenes of brethyng whiche is no quinsie, the consent of 
authours do attribute a greate effecte to lyneseede made in poudre and 
tempered with hony for the chylde to swallowe downe a lytle at ones. 
I fynde also that the milke of a mare, newlye receyved of the child wyth 
suger, is a synguler remedye for the same pourpose. 

Whyche thynge, moreover, is exceding holsome to make the bellye 
laxe wythout trouble. 

Ofweaknes of the stomacke 
and vomytynge. 

Many tymes the stomacke of the chyld is so feble that it cannot retayne 
eyther meate or drynke, in which case, and for all debilitye thereof, it is 
very good to wasshe the stomake wyth warme water of roses wherin a 
lytle muske hath bene dyssolved, for that by the odour and natural 
heate gyveth a comforte to al the spirituall membres. 

And then it is good to roste a quynce tender, and wyth a lyttle pou- 
der of cloves and suger to gyve it to the chylde to eate; conserva quyn- 
ces wyth a lyttle cynamome and cloves is singuler good for the same en- 
tent. Also ye may make a juyce of quynces, and gyve it to the child to 
drynke wyth a lytle suger. 

An oyntment for the stomacke. 
Take gallia muscata^^ at the pothecaryes, .xx. grayne weyght, myrre a 
very lytle; make it up in oyntmente fourme wyth oyle of mastyke and 
water of roses sufficient; thys is a very good oyntment for the stomacke. 

An other singuler receyte. 
Take mastyk, frankinsence, and drye redde roses, as moche as is suffic- 
iente; make them in pouder, and temper them up wyth the juyce of 
myntes and a sponefull of vynegre, and use it. 

An other. 
Take wheate floure and parche it on a panne tylle it begynne to brenne 
and waxe redde, then stampe it wyth vynegre and adde to it the yolkes 

^^ a medicament composed of musk, amber, and lignum aloes. 


of .ii. egges harde rested, mastyke, gumme, and frankensence sufficient; 
make a plaistre and laye it to the stomake. 

To recover an appetyte lost. 
Take a good handfull of ranke and lustye rewe and seeth it in a pynt of 
vinegre to the thyrde parte or lesse, and make it very stronge; wherof yf 
it be a chylde, ye maye take a tooste of Browne bread, and stamp it with 
the *same vynegre, and laye it playstrewyse to the stomake; and for a 
stronger age, besydes the playstre, lette hym suppe mornynge and 
evenyng of the same vynegre. 

This is al§o good to recover a stomake lost by comynge to a fyre 
after a longe journey; and hath also a synguler vertue to restore a man 
that swowneth. 

An experiment often approved 

ofRasisfor the vomyte 


Rasis, a solemne practicioner among phisicions, affirmeth that he healed 

a greate multitude of this dysease onelye wyth the practyse folowynge, 

which he taketh to be of great effecte in all lyke cases. 

Fyrst he maketh as it were an electuarye of pothecarye stuffe, that is 
to saye, lignum aloes, mastyke, of everye one halfe a dramme, galles 
halfe a scruple; make a lectuarye wyth syrupe of roses and gallia muscata 
and sugre. 

Of thys he gave the chyldren to eate a very lytle at ones and often. 
Afterward he made a playstre thus: Rx. mastyke, aloes, sloes, galles, 
frankensence, and brent bread, of eche a like portion; make a plaistre 
with oyle and syrupe of roses to be layed to the childes stomake hote. 

An other oyntment for the stomakcy 
descryhed of Wilhel. Placentino. 
Take oyle of mastyke or of wormewood .ii. ounces, waxe thre ounces, 
cloves, maces, and cynamome, of eche thre drammes; make an oynt- 
ment, addynge in the ende a lytle vynegre. 

The yolke of an egge harde rosted, mastyke, frankensence, and 
gumme, made in a plaistre with oyle of quinces, is excedyng good for 
the same purpose. 


Ofyeaocyng or hycket. 

It chaunceth oftentymes that a chylde yeaxeth out of measure. Wherfore 
it is expedyent to make the stomake eygre afore it be fedde, and not to 
replenyshe it wyth too moche at ones, for this disease commonly 
procedeth of fulnesse; for yf it come of emptinesse or of sharpe humours 
in the mouth of the stomake, which is seldom sene, the cure is then 
very diffycyl and daungerous. 

When it commeth of fulnesse that a chyld yeaxeth incessauntlye without 
measure, and that by a long custome, it is good to make him vomyt with 
a fether, or by some other light meanes, that the matter which causeth the 
yeaxynge maye yssue and uncombre the stomake. That done, bryng it 
aslepe and use to annoynt the stomak wyth oyles of castor, spyke, camo- 
myll, and dyll, or two or thre of them joyned togyther warme. 

Of colycke and rumblynge in 
the guttes. 

Payne in the belly is a common dysease of chyldren; it commeth eyther 
of woormes or of takynge colde or of evylle mylke. The sygnes thereof 
are too well knowen, for the chylde can not rest but cryeth and fretteth 
it self, and manye tymes can not make theyr uryne, by reason of wynde 
that oppresseth the necke of the bladder; and is knowen also by the 
membre in a man child whyche in this case is alwaye styffe and pryck- 
ynge; moreover, the noyse and romblyng in the guttes, hyther and thith- 
er, declareth the chylde to be greved with wynde in the bellye and colik. 

The nourse must avoyde all maner meates that engendre winde, as 
beanes, peason, butter, harde egges, and suche. Then wasshe the chyldes 
bellye wyth bote water, wherin hath ben sodden comyne, dylle, and 
fenell; after that, make a playstre of oyle and waxe, and clappe it bote 
upon a cloth unto the bellye. 

An other good playstre 
for the same entent. 
Take good stale ale and fresh butter, seeth them with an handfull of co- 
myne poudred, and after put it all togyther into a swynes bladder, and 


bynde the mouthe faste that the lycoure yssue not out; then wynde it in 
a cloth and turne it up and downe upon the belly as bote as the pacient 
maye suffer. This is good for the colyke after a sodayne colde in all ages, 
but in chyldren ye must beware ye applye it not too bote. 

Offluxe of the belly e. 

Many tymes it happeneth, eyther by takyng colde or by reson of great 
payne in breedynge of teethe, or els through salt and eygre fleume, or 
cholere engendred in the bodye, that the chylde falleth into a sodayne laxe; 
which yf it lofige continue and be not holpen, it may brynge the pacient to 
extreme leanesse and consumption. Wherfore it shall be good to seke some 
holsome remedy and to stoppe the rennyng of the fluxe thus. 

Remedye for the fluxe 
in a chylde. 
Fyrst make a bath of herbes that do restrayne, as of plantayne. Saint 
Johns weede called ypericon, knotgrasse, bursa pastoris, and other suche, 
or some of them, and use to bath him in it as bote as he may wel suffre, 
then wrappe him in with clothes, and laye him downe to slepe. 

And yf ye see by this, twyse or thryse usynge, that the bellye be not 
stopped, ye maye take an egges yolke harde rosted, and grynde it with 
a lytle saffron, myrre, and wyne; make a playstre and applye it to the 
navyl bote. Yf this succede not, then it shal be necessarye for to make 
a poudre to gyve him in his meate with a litle sugre and in a smal quan- 
titie thus: 

Take the poudre of hartes borne brent, the poudre of gootes clawes 
or of swynes clawes brent, the poudre of the seede of roses whyche 
remayne in the berye when the rose is fallen, of everye one a portion; 
make them very fine and, with good redde wyne or almon mylke, and 
wheate floure, make it as it were a paste, and drye it in lytle balles tyll 
ye see necessitie; [it] is a singuler remedy in al suche cases. 

Item, the mylke wherin hath bene sodden whyte paper, and after- 
warde quenched manye bote yrons or gaddes of stele, is excedynge good 
for the same entent to drynke. 

And here is to be noted that a natural fluxe is never to be feared 
afore the .vii. day; and, except there issue blood, it ought not to be 
stopped afore the sayde tyme. 

Pouder of the herbe called knotgrasse, or the juce therof in a posset 
dronken, or a playstre of the same herbe and of bursa pastoris, bolear- 


menye,^'^ and the juce of plantayne with a lytle vynegre and wheate 
floure, is exceadynge good for the same cause. 

Also, the ryndle mawe of a yonge suckynge kydde gyven to the chylde, 
the weight of .x. graynes, with the yolke of an egge softe rosted; and let the 
pacyent abstayne from mylke by the space of .ii. houres before and after, 
instede wherof ye may gyve a rosted quince or a warderf^ wyth a lytle 
sugre and cynamome to eate. 

Item, an other goodly receyte 

for the same entent. « 

Take sorel seed and the kernelles of greate raysyns dryed, ackorne 
cuppes, and the seed of whyte popye, of eche .ii. drammes, saffron a 
good quantitie; make them in pouder and tempre them wyth the juce of 
quynces or syrupe of red roses. This is a soverayne thyng in al fluxes of 
the woumbe. 

Many other thynges are written of authours in the sayd disease, 
whiche I here leave out for brevitie and also bycause the afore reherced 
medicynes are suffycient ynough in a case curable. Yet wyll I not 
omytte a godly practyse in the sayde cure. The pesyll of an hart or a 
stagge, dryed in pouder and dronken, is of great and wonderful effect in 
stoppyng a fluxe. Whiche thyng also is approved in the lyver of a beaste 
called in Englysshe an otter. The stones of hym, dronken in pouder a 
lytle at ones, thyrtye dayes togyther, hath healed men for ever of the 
fallyng evyll. 

Ofstoppynge of the belly e. 

Even as a fluxe is daungerous so is stoppynge and hardenesse of the 
bellye grevous and noysome to the chylde, and is often cause of the 
colycke and other diseases. Wherfore in this case ye muste alwaye put a 
lytle hony into the chyldes meate, and lette the nource gyve hym honye 
to sucke upon her fynger; and yf this wyl not helpe, then the nexte is to 
myxte a lytle fyne and cleare turpentyne wyth honye, and so to resolve 
it in a saucer, and let the chylde suppe of it a lytle. 

This medicine is descrybed of Paulus Aegineta and recyted of dyvers 
other as a thyng very holsome and agreinge to the nature of the chylde, 

^ i.e., Bole Armoniac; a variety of friable earthy clay, consisting of hydrous silicates of 

^^ warden pear; an ancient variety of pear especially favored for cooking. 


for it doeth not only losen the belly without grefe or daunger, but doth 
also purge the lyver and the longes, with the splene and kidneyes, gener- 
ally comfort eth all the spirituall membres of the bodye. 

The gall of an oxe or a cowe, layed upon a cloute on the navylle, 
causeth a chylde to be loose bellyed, lykewyse an emplaystre of a rosted 
onyon, the galle of an oxe, and butter, layed upon the belye as hote as 
he maye suffre. Yf these wyll not helpe, ye shal take a lytle cotten, and 
rolle it, and, dypped in the sayd gall, put it in the fundament. 


There be dyverse kyndes of wormes in the bellye, as longe, shorte, 
rounde, flat, and some smalle as lyce. They be all engendred of a crude, 
grosse, or phlegmatyke matter, and never of choler nor of melancholy, 
for all bytter thynges kylleth them, and al swete meates that engendre 
fleume nouryssheth and fedeth the same. The signes dyffer accordyng to 
the wormes. For in the long and round, the pacient commonly hath a 
drye cough, payne in the belly about the guttes, some tyme yeaxynge 
and tremblyng in the night, and starte sodaynely and fall aslepe agayne; 
otherwhyles they gnasshe and grynde theyr teeth togyther, the eyes 
waxe holowe with an eygre loke, and have greate delyte in slombryng 
and sylence, verye loth when they are awaked. The pulse is incertayne 
and never at one staye, sometyme a fever with greate colde in the joyn- 
tes, which endureth thre or .iiii. houres in the nyght or daye. Many 
have but small desyre to meate, and when they desyre they eate verye 
greedelye, whych yf they lacke at theyr appetyte they forsake it a great 
whyle after. The whole body consumeth and waxeth leane, the face pale 
or blewe; somtyme a fluxe, somtymes vomyte; and in some the belye is 
swollen as styffe as a taberet. 

The longe and brode wormes are knowen by these sygnes, that is to 
saye, by yelownesse or whyttishnesse of the eyes, intollerable hungre, 
greate gnawynge and grypyng in the bellye, specyally afore meate, water 
commyng oute at the mouth or at the fundament, continuall ytche and 
rubbyng of the nosethrylles, sonken eyes, and a stynkyng breath; also, 
when the person doth his easement there appeareth in the donge lytle 
flat substaunces, moche like the seedes of cucumers or gourdes. 

The other lesse sorte are engendred in the great gutte, and may wel 
be knowen by the excedynge ytche in the fundament within, and are 
oftentymes sene commyng out with the excrementes. They be called of 
phisicions ascarides. 


Remedy for wormes in chyldren. 
The herbe that is founde growyng upon oysters by the sees syde is a 
synguler remedy to destroye wormes, and is called therfore of the 
Grekes Scolitabotani, that is to saye, the herbe that kylleth wormes. It 
must be made in pouder and gyven with sweate mylke to the chylde to 
drynke. The phisicions call the same herbe coralina. 

A singuler receyte for to 
kyll wormes. 
Take the gall of a bull or oxe newlye kylled, and stampe in it an hand- 
full of good comyne; make a playstre of it and lay it over all the bellye, 
removyng the same every syxe houres. 

Item, the galle of a buUe wyth seedes of colocynthis, called colloquin- 
tida of the pothecaryes, and an handfulle of baye beryes well made to- 
gyther in a playstre, with a sponefuU of strong vynegre, is of greate 
effecte in the same case. 

Yf the chylde be of age or stronge complexion, ye may make a fewe 
pilles of aloes and the pouder of wormeseed, then wynde them in a pece 
of singyng lofe,^^ and annoynt them over wyth a lytle butter, and lette 
them be swalowed downe whole without chewyng. 

Of swellyng of the navy II. 

In a chylde lately borne and tender, somtyme by cutting of the navyll 
too nere or at an inconvenient season, somtyme by swadlyng or bynd- 
ynge amysse or of moche cryinge or coughynge, it happeneth other- 
whyles that the navyll aryseth and swelleth wyth greate payne and apos- 
temation; the remedy wherof is not moche differente from the cure of 
ulcers, savynge in thys, that ye ought to applye thynges of lesse attrac- 
tion than in other kynde of ulcers; as for an example ye maye make an 
oyntment under thys fourme: Take spyke or lavender, halfe an ounce, 
make it in pouder, and wyth thre ounces of fyne and cleare turpentyne 
tempre it in an oyntment, addyng a portion of oyle of swete almons. 
But yf it come of cryinge, take a lytle beane floure and the asshes of 
fyne lynnen cloutes brent, and tempre it with redde wyne and honye, 
and laye it to the sore. 

^ i.e., a lump of toasted bread. 


A playstre for swellyng 

in the navyll. 

Take cowes donge, and drye it in poudre, barlye floure and beane 

floure, of eche a porcyon, the juyce of knotgrasse a good quantitie, co- 

myne a lytle; make a playstre of all and set it to the navyll. 

An other. 
Take cowes donge and seeth it in the mylke of the same cowe, and laye 
it on the grefe. This is also marveylouse effectuall to helpe a soddayne 
ache or swellyng in the legges. 

Of the stone in chyldren. 

The tender age of children, as I sayd afore, is vexed and afflycted with 
manye grevous and peryllous diseases, amonge whome there is few or 
none so vyolent or more to be feared in them than that whyche is 
mooste feared in all kynde of ages, that is to saye, the stone, an houge 
and a pityful disease, ever the more encreasyng in dayes, the more re- 
belling to the cure of Physycke. 

Therfore is it excedyng daungerouse whan it falleth in chyldren. For 
as moch as neyther the bodyes of them may be well purged of the 
matter antecedent called humor peccans, nor yet can abide any vyolent 
medecyne havynge power to breake it, by reason wherof the sayd dys- 
ease acquyreth suche a strengthe above nature, that in processe of tyme 
it is utterlye incurable. 

Yet in the begynnyng it is oftentymes healed thus: 
Fyrste lette the nurse be wel dyeted, or the chylde yf it be of age, ab- 
stayning from all grosse meates and harde of digestion, as is beafe, ba- 
con, saltemeates, and cheese; then make a pouder of the roote of peonye 
dryed, and myngle it wyth as moche honye as shal be sufficient; or yf 
the childe abhorre hony, make it up wyth suger, molten a lytle uppon 
the coales, and gyve thereof unto the chylde, more or lesse accordynge 
to the strengthe, twyse a daye tylle ye see the uryne passe easelye. Ye 
maye also gyve it in a rere egge, for wythout dout it is a synguler 
remedye in chyldren. 

An oyntment for the same. 
Oyle of scorpions, yf it may be gotten, is excedyng good to annoynt 
wythall the membres and the nether parte of the bellye ryghte agaynste 
the bladder; ye may have it at the pothecaries. 


A singuler bathe for the 
same entent. 
Take mallowes, holyhock, lylie rotes, lynseed, and parietarye of the wal; 
seeth them all in the brothe of a shepes head, and therein use to bathe 
the chyld oftentymes; for it shal open the straytnes of the condytes, that 
the stone may issue, swage the payne, and brynge oute the gravell with 
the uryne; but in more effecte whan a playster is made, as shal be sayde 
herafter, and layed uppon the raynes and the bellye immediatly after the 

A playster for the stone. 
Take parietarie of the wall, one portion, and stampe it, doves dounge 
an other portion, and grynde it, then frye them bothe in a panne wyth 
a good quantitye of fresshe buttyre; and, as bote as may be suffered, laye 
it to the belly and the backe; and from .iii. houres to .iiii. let it be 

Thys is a soverayne medicine in all maner ages. 

Item, an other pouder whyche is made thus: 

Take the kernels or stones that are founde in the fruyte called openers 
or mespiles or, of some, meddlars.^'^ Make them in fyne pouder, whyche 
is wounderfuU good for to breake the stone wythout daunger bothe in yong 
and olde. 

The chestwoormes,^^ dryed and made in fyne pouder, taken wyth the 
brothe of a chycken, or a lytle suger, helpeth them that can not make theyr 

Ofpyssynge in the bedde, 

Manytimes for debilitye of vertue retentive of the reynes or blader as 
wel olde men as children are oftentymes annoyed whan their urin issu- 
eth out, either in theyr sleepe or wakyng agaynst theyr wylles, havyng 
no power to retayne it whan it commeth. Therfore yf they wyll be hol- 
pen, fyrste they muste avoyde all fat meates tylle the vertue retentive be 
restored agayne, and to use thys pouder in theyr meates and drynkes: 
Take the wesande of a cocke and plucke it, then brenne it in pouder 

^^ fruit of the medlar tree, resembling a large brown apple. 
^* i.e., woodlice. 


and use of it twise or thryes a daye. The stones of an hedgehogge poud- 
red is of the same vertue. 

Item, the clawes of a goate made in pouder, dronken or eaten in 

If the paciente be of age, it is good to make fyne plates of leade wyth 
holes in them, and lette them lye often to the naked backe. 


The causes of it in a chylde are many, for it maye come of very lyghte 
occasions, as of great cryeng and stoppynge the breath, byndynge too 
strayte, or by a falle; or of too greate rockynge and suche lyke maye 
cause the filme that spreadeth over the bellye to breake or to slacke, and 
so the guttes fall dowhe into the cod, whych yf it be not utterly uncura- 
ble maye be healed after thys sorte: 

Fyrste, laye the pacient so uppon hys backe that hys heade maye be 
lower than hys heales, then take and reduce the bowels wyth youre hande 
into the due place. Afterwarde, ye shall make a playster to be layde uppon 
the coddes, and bounde wyth a lace rounde aboute the backe, after thys 

. Take rosyn, frankynsence, mastyke, comyne, lyneseed, and anyse 
seed, of everye one a lyke, pouder of osmonde rootes, that is to saye of 
the brode feme, the .iiii. parte of all; make a playster with sufficient oyle 
olyve and fresshe swynes grece, and sprede it on a lether, and let it con- 
tinue (except a great necessity) two or three weekes; after that, applye an 
other lyke tylle ye see amendment. In this case it is verye good to make 
a poudre of the heares of an hare, and to temper it with suger or con- 
serva roses, and gyve it to the chylde twyes every day. 

If it be above the age of .vii. yere, ye maye make a singuler receyte 
in drinke to be taken everye daye twyse thus. 

A drynke for one that 
is brosten. 
Take matfelon, daysieis, comferye, and osmondes, of every one a lyke, 
seeth them in the water of a smythes forge, to the thyrde parte, in a 
vessel covered on a softe fyer; then strayne it and gyve to drynke of it 
a good draughte at ones, mornynge and evenyng, addynge evermore in 
hys meates and drynkes the pouder of the heare of an hare beynge 


Offallynge of the fundamente. 

Many tymes it happeneth that the gutte, called of the Latynes rectum 
intestinum, falleth out at the fundament and can not be gotten in agayne 
wythout peyne and labour; whyche dysease is a common thynge in 
chyldren, commyng oftentymes of a sodayne colde or a longe laxe, and 
may wel be cured by these subscribed medicines. 

If the gutte hath ben longe out and be so swollen that it cannot be 
reposed, or by coldenes of the ayre be congeled, the best counsell is to 
let the chylde syt on a hote bathe, made of the decoction of mallowes, 
holihocke, lyneseed, and the rootes of lyllies, wherein ye shall bathe the 
foundamente wyth a softe cloute or a sponge, and whan the place is 
suppled, thruste it in agayne; whyche done, then make a pouder thus. 

A pouder for fallynge of 
the foundament. 
Take the poudre of an hartes home brent, the cuppes of acornes dryed, rose 
leaves dryed, goates clawes brent, the rynde of a pomegranate, and of galles, 
of everye one a portion. Make them in pouder, and strowe it on the fun- 
dament. It shal be the better yf ye put a lytle on the gutte afore it be 
reposed in the place, and after it be setled, to put more of it upon the 
fundament; then bynde it in wyth hote lynnen clothes, and gyve the chylde 
quynces or a rosted warden to eate wyth cinamone and suger. 

An other good pouder for 
the same. 
Take galles, myrre, frankynsence, mastyke, and aloes, of every one a 
lytle; make them in a pouder and strowe it on the place. 

A lytle tarre wyth gosegrece is also verye good in thys case. 

An other good remedye. 
Take the wolle frome betwen the legges or of the necke of shepe whych 
is full of sweate and fattie; then make a juyce of unsette leekes, and 
dippe the wolle in it, and laye it to the place as hotte as maye be suf- 
fered; and whan it waxeth colde, remove it and apply an other hote. 
Thys is a very good remedy for fallynge of the fundament. 

If the chylde provoke many tymes to seege and can expell nothynge, 
that dysease is called of the Grekes tenesmos; for the whyche it shall be 
verye good to applye a playster made of gardeyne cressys and comyne, 
lyke quantitye; frye them in butter, and laye it on the bellye as hote as 
he maye suffre. 


It is also commended to fume the nether partes wyth turpentyne and 
pitche, and to sytte longe upon a bourde of ceder or juniper as hote as 
maye be possible. 

Chafynge of the skynne. 

In the flanckes, armholes, and under the eares, it chaunceth oftentymes 
that the skyn fretteth, eyther by the childes own uryne, or for the de- 
fault e of wasshing, or elles by wrappynge and kepynge too hote. 

Therfore in the begynnynge, ye shall annoynt the places with fresshe 
capons grece; then yf it wylle not heale, make an oyntment and laye it 
on the place. 

An oyntement for chafyng 

and gallynge. 

Take the roote of the floure deluyce dryed, of redde roses dryed, galingale 

and mastyke, of eche a lyke quantitye; beate them into moste subtyle pou- 

der, then wyth oyle of roses, or of lyneseed, make a softe oyntment. 

Item, the longes of a wether, dryed and made in very fyne pouder, heal- 
eth all chafynges of the skine. And in like maner the fragmentes of sho- 
makers lether, brent and caste upon the place in as fyne pouder as is poss- 
yble, hath the same effecte, whych thyng is also good for the gallynge or 
chafynge of the fete of whatsoever cause it commeth. 

Item, bean floure, barlye floure, and the floure of fytches, tempered 
wyth a lytle oyle of roses, maketh a soverayne oyntment for the same 

If the chafynges be great, it is good to make a bathe of holyhocke, dyl, 
violets and lineseed, with a lytle bran, then to washe the same places 
oftentymes, and laye upon the sore some of the same thynges. 

The decoction of plantayne, bursa pastoris, horsetayle, and knotgrasse, 
is excedynge good to heale all chafynges of the skynne. 

Of small pockes and measylles. 

Thys dysease is common and familier, called of the Grekes by the gen- 
erall name of exanthemata, and of Plinie papule et pituite eruptiones. 
Notwythstandyng, the consent of writers hath obteyned a destinction of 
it in .ii. kyndes, that is to saye: varioli the measels, and morbilli, called 
of us the small pockes. 


They be bothe of one nature and procede of one cause, savynge that 
the mesyls are engendred of the inflammation of blood, and the smal 
pockes of the inflammation of bloode myngled wyth choler. 

The sygnes of them bothe are so manifest to syght that they nede no 
farther declaration. For at the fyrste some have an ytche and a fretyng 
of the skyn, as yf it had ben rubbed wyth nettles, payne in the head and 
in the backe, the face redde in coloure and flecked, feare in the slepe, 
great thyrst, rednes of the eyes, beatynge in the temples, shotyng and 
pryckyng thorough all the bodye. Then anone after, when they breake 
out, they be sene of dyvers fasshyons and fourmes: somtyme as it were 
a drye scabbe or a leprye spreadyng over all the membres, other whyles 
in pushes, pimples, and wheles, rennyng with moch corruption and 
matter, and wyth greate peyne of the face and throte, dryenesse of the 
tonge, horcenes of voyce, and, in some, quiverynge of the harte wyth 

The causes of these evell affections are rehersed of authours to be 
chyefly foure: 

Fyrste, of the superfluyties whyche myght be corrupte in the woum- 
be of the mother, the chylde there beyng and receyvynge the same into 
the poores; the whyche at that tyme for debility of nature coulde not be 
expelled but, the chyld increasynge afterwarde in strengthe, is dryven 
oute of the veynes into the upper skynne. 

Secondarilie, it maye come of a corrupte generation, that is to saye 
whan it was engendred in an evyl season, the mother beynge sycke of 
her natural infirmitye. For suche as are begotten that tyme verye sel- 
dome escape the disease of leprye. 

The thyrde cause maye be an evylle dyete of the nourse or of the 
chylde it selfe, whan they feade uppon meates that encrease rotten hu- 
mours, as milk and fyshe both at one meale, lykewise excesse of eatynge 
and drynkynge and surfeyte. 

Fourthlye, this dysease commeth by the waye of contagion whan a 
sycke person infecteth an other, and in that case it hath great affinitie 
wyth the pestylence. 

The best and most sure helpe in this case is not to meddle wyth any 
kynde of medicines, but to let nature woorke her operation. Notwyth- 
standynge, yf they be too slowe in commynge oute it shall be good for 
you to gyve the chyld to drinke sodden mylke and saffron, and so kepe 
hym close and warme whereby they maye the soner issue forthe, but in 
no case to administre anye thynge that might eyther represse the swell- 


ynge of the skynne or to coole the heate that is wythin the membres. 
For yf thys dysease, which shuld be expelled by a natural action of the 
body to the long healthe afterwarde of the pacient, were by force of 
medicine cowched in agayne, it were even ynough to destroye the chyld. 
Therfore, abide the ful breaking out of the sayd wheales, and then (yf 
they be not ripe) ease the chyldes peyne by makynge a bath of holihock, 
dil, camomyl, and fenel; yf they be rype and matter, then take fenell, 
wormewood, and sage, and seeth them in water to the thyrde part, 
wherin ye maye bathe hym with a fyne cloth or a sponge. Alwayes 
provyded that he take no colde durynge the tyme of hys sycknesse. 

The wyne wherin fygges have ben sodde is singuler good in the same 
case, and may be well used in all tymes and causes. 

Yf the wheles be outragyous and great, with moche corrosion and 
venim, some make a decoction of roses and plantayne in the water of 
oke, and dissolve in it a lytle Englysh honye and camphore. 

The decoction of water betonye is approved good in the sayde 
dyseases. Lykewyse the oyntment of herbes, wherof I made mention in 
the cure of scabbes, is excedynge holsome after the sores are rype. 

Moreover it is good to droppe in the pacientes eyes, .v. or .vi. tymes 
a daye, a lytle rose or fenel water to comforte the syght, lest it be hurte 
by contynuall renning of matter. This water must be mynistred in the 
somer colde; and in the winter ye ought to aply it luke warme. 

The same rose water is also good to gargle in hys mouthe, yf the 
chylde be then payned in the throte. 

And lest the condytes of the nose shuld be stopped, it shall be very 
expedient to let hym smell often to a sponge wete in the juce of saverye, 
stronge vynegre, and a lytle rosewater. 

To take awaye the spottes and 
scarres of the smal pockes 
and measels. 
The blood of a bulle or of an hare is moche commended of authours to 
be annoynted bote upon the scarres, and also the lycour that yssueth out 
of shepes clawes or gootes clawes, hette in the fyer. Item, the dryppyng 
of a cygnet or swanne layed upon the places oftentymes bote. 


Yf the fever use to take the child with a great shakyng and afterwarde 
bote, whether it be cotidian or tertian, it shall be singuler good to gyve 


it in drynke the blacke seedes of peonye made in fyne pouder, searced 
and myngled with a lytle sugre. Also take plantayne, fetherfew, and 
verveyn, and bathe the chylde in it ones or twyse a daye, bynding to the 
pulces of the handes and feet a playstre of the same herbes stamped, and 
provoke the chylde to sweate afore the fytte commeth. 

Some gyve counsell, in a hote fever, to applye a colde playstre to the 
breest, made in this wyse. Take the juyce of wormewood, plantayne, 
mallowes, and houseleeke, and tempre in them as moch barlye floure as 
shal be suffycient, and use it. Or thus, and more better, in a weake 

Take drye roses and poudre them; then tempre the poudre wyth the 
juyce of endyve or purcelane, rose water, and barlye floure, and make a 
playstre to the stomake. 

Item, an oyntment for hys temples, armes, and legges, made of oyle 
of roses and populeon, of eche lyke moche. 

A good medicine for the ague 
in chyldren. 
Take plantayne with the roote, and wash it; then seeth it in fayre run- 
nynge water to the thyrde parte, whereof ye shall gyve it a draughte (yf 
it be of age to drynke) with sufficient sugre, and laye the sodden herbes, 
as hoote as maye be suffred, to the pulses of the handes and feet. This 
must be done a litle afore the fytte; and afterward cover it with clothes. 
The oyle of nettles, wherof I spake in the title of styfnesse of lymmes, 
is excedynge good to annoynt the membres in a colde shakynge ague. 

Ofswellynge of the coddes.^^ 

To remove the swellyng of the coddes procedynge of ventositie, or of 
any other cause (excepte brustynge), whether it be wyth inflammation 
or without, here shal be rehersed manye good remedyes of whyche ye 
maye use accordyng to the qualitye and quantitye of the gryefe; alway 
provided that, in this disease, ye maye in no case applye any repercuss- 
yves; that is to saye, set no colde herbes to dryve the matter backe, for 
it would then returne agayne into the body, and the congelation of 
suche a sinowye membre woulde peradventure mortifye the whole. And 

I.e., scrotum. 


above al ye maye set no playster to the stones wherin hymlocke enter- 
eth, for it wyll depryve them for ever of theyr growynge; and not only 
them but the brestes of wenches whan they be annoynted therewyth, by 
a certeyne quaUtye, or rather an evyl property, beynge in it. 

A goodly playster for swellyng 
of the stones. 
Take a quarte of good ale worte, and set it on the fyre to sethe wyth the 
crommes of browne bread strongly levened and a handefull of comyne 
or more in pouder; make a playstre wyth all thys and sufficiente beane 
floure, and applye it to the gryefe as bote as may be suffered. 

An other. 
Take cowes donge and seethe it in mylke, then make a playster and laye 
it metelye bote upon the s welly nge. 

An other. 
Take comyne, anyseseed, and fenugreke, of eche a like portion; seeth 
them in ale and stampe them, then tempre them with fresh maye butter 
or a lytle oyle olyve, and applye it to the sore. 

An other. 
Take camomyll, holyhocke, lynseed, and fenugreke; seethe them in 
water, and grynde all togyther, then make a playster wyth an handfull 
of beane floure, and use it. 

An other in the hegynnyng of 
the griefe. 
Yf there be moche inflammation or heate in the coddes, ye maye make 
an oyntment of plantayne, the whyte and yolke of an egge, and a por- 
tion of oyle of roses; styrre them well aboute, and applye it to the grefe 
twyse or thryse a day. 

When the payne is intollerable and the chylde of age or of stronge 
complexion, yf the premisses wyll not helpe ye shall make a playstre 
after this sorte: Take henbane leaves, an handfull and an halfe, mallowe 
leaves an handfull; seeth them well in cleare water; then stampe them 
and styrre them, and, with a lytle of the broth, beane floure, barly 
floure, oyle of roses and camomyll suffycient, make it up and set it on 
the swellyng luke warme. Henbane, as Avicenne sayth, is excedynge 
good to resolve the hardnesse of the stones by a secret qualitie. Notwith- 


standynge, yf it come of wynde it shal be better to use the sayde plays- 
ters that are made with comyne, for that is of a singuler operation in 
dissolvyng wynde, as affirmith Dioscorides wrytyng of the qualities of 

Of sacer ignis or chingles. 

In Greke herisipelas, and of the Latines Sacer ignis, our Englysshe wom- 
en call it the fyre of Saynt Anthonye, or chingles; it is an inflammation 
of membres with excedyng burnynge and rednesse, harde in the feel- 
ynge, and for the mooste parte crepeth above the skynne or but a lytle 
depe within the flesshe. 

It is a grevous payne and maye be lykened to the fyre in consumyng. 
Wherfore the remedyes that are good for burnyng are also very holsome 
here in this case. And fyrste, the greene oyntment of herbes descrybed 
in the chapter of ytche is of good effect also in this cure; moreover the 
medicines that are here described. 

Take at the pothecaries of unguentum Galeni an ounce and an halfe, 
oyle of roses two ounces, unguenti populeon one ounce, the juce of 
plantayne and nightshade one ounce or more, the whytes of thre egges; 
beate them altogyther, and ye shal have a good oyntment for the same 

An other. 
Take earthwormes and stampe them in vynegre, then annoynt the grefe 
every two houres. 

Item, the donge of a swanne, or in lacke of it the donge of a gose, 
stamped with the whyte and yolke of an egge, is good. 

Item, doves donge stamped in salet oyle or other is a singuler reme- 
dye for the same purpose. 

Of burnyng and scaldyng. 

For burnyng and scaldyng, whether it be with fier, water, oyle, lead, 
pytche, lyme, or any such infortune: Ye muste beware ye set no reper- 
cussive at the fyrst, that is to saye, no medicine of extreme colde, for 
that myght chaunce to dryve the fervent heate into the synowes and so 
stoppe the poores that it coulde not issue; whereof shulde hap{>en moche 
inconnvenience in a great burning (but in a smal it coulde not be so 


daungerous); wherfore, the best is when ye see a membre eyther brent 
or scalded as is sayde afore. 

Take a good quantitie of bryne which is made of water and salt, not 
to exceadynge eygre or stronge but of a meane sharpenessse, and with a 
clout or a sponge bathe the membre in it colde, or at the leest blood 
warme, thre or foure houres togyther, the longer the better. For it shall 
aswage moche of the peyne, open the pores, cause also the fyre to va- 
poure, and gyve a great comfort to the weake membre. Then annoynt 
the place wyth one of these medicynes: 

Take oyle of roses one part, swete creme two partes, honye halfe a 
parte; make an oyntment and use it. 

Item, all the medicines descrybed in the last chapiter are of greate 
effecte in this case, lykewyse the grene oyntment made of water be- 

Item, a soverayne medicyne for burnynge and scaldynge and all un- 
kynde heates is thus made: Take a dosen or more of harde rosted egges, 
and put the yolkes in a pot on the fyre by themselfe without lycour; 
styrre them and braye them with a stronge hande tyl there aryse as it 
were a froth or spume of oyle to the mouthe of the vessell, then presse 
the yolkes and reserve the lycour. This is called oyle of egges, a very 
precyous ,thyng in the forsayde cure. 

Morover there is an oyntment made of shepes dong fryed in oyle or 
in swines grece; then put to it a lytle waxe and use it. 

Also, take quycke lyme and wasshe it in verjuce .ix. or .x. tymes; 
then mingle it with oyle and kepe it for the same entent. 

Item, the juce of the leaves of lillies .v. partes, and of vyneegre one 
part, honye a lytle, maketh an excellent medicine not onelye for thys 
entent but for all other kynde of bote and rennyng ulcers. 

Note that whatsoever ye use in this case it must be laide unto blood 
warme. Also, for avoydyng of a scarre, kepe the sore alwaye moyst with 


The kybes of the heeles are called in Latyn perniones; they procede of 
colde, and are healed with these subscrybed remedies. 

A rape roote'^^ rosted with a litle freshe butter is good for the same 

^° i.e., turnip; Brassica rapa. 


Item, a dosen fygges, sodden and stamped wyth a lytle goose grece, 
is good. 

Earthe wormes, sodden in oyle, hath the same effecte. 

Item, the skynne of a mouse, clapped al hote upon the kybe wyth 
the heare outwarde; and it shulde not be removed durynge .iii. dayes/^ 

A playster for a kybed heele. 
Take newe butter, oyle of roses, hennes grece, of eche an ounce; put the 
butter and the grece in a bygge rape roote or, in lacke of it, a great apple 
or onyon, and whan it is roste softe, braye it wyth the oyle and laye it 
playsterwyse upon the kybe. 

An other. 
Take the meate of apples and rapes rosted on the coles, of eche .iii. 
ounces, fresh butter .ii. ounces, duckes grese or swannes grece an ounce; 
stampe them all in a morter of leade, yf it maye be had, or els grynde 
them on a fayre marble and use it. 

Of consumption or leanesse. 

Whan a childe consumeth or waxeth leane wythoute anye cause appar- 
aunt, there is a bathe commended of authours to wasshe the chylde 
manye tymes, and is made thus: 

Take the head and feete of a wether, seeth them tyll the bones fall 
asunder; use to bathe the chylde in this licour, and after annoynte hym 
wyth thys oyntement folowynge. 

Take butter wythoute sake, oyle of roses and of vyolettes, of eche .i. 
ounce, the fatte of rawe porke, halfe an ounce, waxe a quarteron of an 
ounce; make an oyntment wherwyth the chylde muste be rubbed every 
daye twyse. Thys, with good fedyng, shall encrease his strength by the 
grace of God. 

^^ Still a popular remedy in the next century, as recommended by the Wife in Beau- 
mont's comedy The Knight of the Burning Pestle (1607): 

Faith, and those chilblains are a foul trouble. Mistress Merrythought, when your 
youth comes home, let him rub all the soles of his feet and the heels and his ankles 
with a mouse skin (3. 187-90). 


Ofgogle eyes. 

This impediment is never healed but in a very yonge chylde, even at the 
begynnynge whereunto there is appoynted no manner kynde of medi- 
cine but onelye an order of kepynge; that is to saye, to laye the chylde 
so in hys cradelle that he maye beholde directe agaynste the lyght, and 
not to turne hys eyes on eyther of both sydes. If yet he begynne to 
gogle, then set the cradell after such a fourme that the lyght may be on 
the contrary syde: that is, on the same syde from whence he turneth hys 
eyes, so that for desyre of lyghte he maye dyrecte them to the same 
part, and so by custome brynge them to the due fashion. And in the 
nyght there ought to be a candell set in lykewyse, to cause hym to 
behold upon it and remove hys eyes from the evel custome. Also grene 
clothes, yelowe, or purple, are verye good in thys case to be set, as is 
sayde afore."^^ Furthermore, a coyfe or a byggen'^^ stondyng out be- 
sydes hys eyes, to constrayne the syght to beholde direct forwarde. 


Somtymes not only chyldren but also other ages are annoyed with lyce. 
They procede of a corrupte humour, and are engendred wythin the skynne, 
crepyng out alyve thorough the poores; whiche, yf they beginne to swarme 
in excedyng nombre, that dysease is called of the Grekes Phthiryasys, 

^^ Phaer clearly had Roesslin's The Byrth of Mankynde in mind (and perhaps at his 
elbow) as he wrote this section. Jonas's translation reads as follows: 

Of google eyes or lokynge a squynt 
Yf the chylde have google eyes or that it loke a squynt, then fyrst set the cradel in such 
a place that the lyght maye come directelye and ryght in the chyldes face neyther in the 
one syde neyther in the other, neyther above the heade, leste it tome the syghte after 
the lyght. Also marke on whiche syde that the eyes do gogle, and let the lyghte come 
unto it on the contrary syde so to retorne the syght. And in the nyght season set a 
candell on the contrarye syde so that by this meane the goglynge of the eyes may be 
retorned to the ryghte place. And farther it shall be good to hange clothes of divers and 
freshe coloures on the contrary syde and spetially of the coloure of lyght grene or 
yelowe for the chylde shall have pleasure to beholde these strange coloures, and in 
retornynge the eye syghte towarde suche thynges it shalbe occasion to rectifye the syght 
agayne (T2v-T3r). 

^' a child's cap. 


whereof Herode dyed as is wrytten in the Actes of Apostles/"^ And 
among the Romaynes, Scilla,"^^ whych was a great tyraunt, and many 
other, have ben eaten of lyce to deathe, whyche thynge, whan it happen- 
eth of the plage of God, it is paste remedye; but yf it procedeth of a 
naturall cause, ye maye well cure it by the meanes folowynge. 

Fyrste, let the paciente abstayne from all kynde of corrupte meates 
or that brede fleume; and, amonge other, fygges and dates muste in thys 
case be utterly abhorred. Then make a lavatory to wash and scoure the 
bodie twyse a day thus: Take water of the sea, or els bryne, and stronge 
lye of asshes, of eche a lyke portion, wormewood a handful; seth them 
a whyle, and after wasshe the bodye with the same licour. 

A goodlye medicine for to 

kylle lyce. 

Take the groundes or dregges of oyle aloes, wormewood, and the galle 

of a bulle or of an oxe; make an oyntement, whyche is singuler good for 

the same pourpose. 

An other. 
Take musterde, and dissolve it in vinegre wyth a lytle sake peter, and 
annoynt the places where as the lyce are wonte to breede. 

Item, an herbe at the pothecaries called stavesacre, brymstone, and 
vynegre, is excedyng good. 

It is good to gyve the pacient often in hys drynke pouder of an 
hartes home brente. 

Stavisacre wyth oyle is a marveylouse holsome thynge in this case. 

^^ Acts 12:21-3. Tyndale's translation reads as follows: 

And upon a daye appoynted Herode arayed him in royall apparell, and set him in 
his seate, and made an oraycon unto them. And the people gave a shoute, sayinge: 
it is the voyce of a God and not of a man. And immediatly the angell of the Lorde 
smote him, because he gave not God the honoure, and he was eatyn of wormes, 
and gave up the gooste. 

*^ i.e., Sulla, Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (138-78 BC). According to Plutarch, in Lives 
of the Noble Grecians and Romanes (North's trans.), Sulla composed his own epitaph: "no 
man did ever passe him, neither in doing good to his frendes, nor in doing mischiefe to his 
enemies" (4. 113). 


An experte medicine to dryve 
awaye lyse. 
Take the groundes or dregges of oyle or, in lacke of it, fresh swines 
grece, a sufficient quantitie, wherin ye shal chafe an ounce of quycksyl- 
ver tyl it be all sonken into the grece; then take pouder of stavisacre 
serced, and myngle all togyther; make a gyrdyll of a wollen liste"^ 
meete for the myddle of the pacient, and al to annoynte it over wyth 
the sayde medicine. Then let hym were it contynually nexte his skynne, 
for it is a synguler remedye to chase awaye the vermyn. The onely 
odour of quyckesylver kylleth lyce. 

These shal be suffycient to declare at this tyme in this litle treatise of 
the cure of chyldren which, if I maye knowe to be thankefuUy receyved, 
I wil by Gods grace supplye more hereafter. Neyther desyre I any lenger 
to lyve than I wil employe my studyes to the honoure of God and 
profyt of the weale publike. 

Thus endeth The Booke of Childeme, composed by Thomas Phayer, 

studiouse in medicine, and hereafter begynneth 

The Regimente ofLyfe translated by the 

same Thomas out of Frenche 

into Englysshe newely 

perused, corrected 

and enlarged. 

^ a strip of cloth. 


Keyed to pagination, the textual notes will list first the reading of this 
text, followed oy a colon, then the reading of the copy text. The copy 
text throughout (O) is the Huntington Library copy of STC 11967 The 
Boke of Chyldren, by Thomas Phaer, collating A2-G8v in Jehan Goeu- 
rot's octavo The Regiment ofLyfe, trans. Thomas Phaer (London, 1544). 
No other copy of this edition exists. 

The second edition of the Short Title Catalogue of English Books 1475- 
1640 records a copy in the Library of the Royal College of Physicians of 
London, but a letter dated 14 January 1997 from Geoffrey Davenport, 
Librarian of the Royal College of Physicians declares the attribution to be 
in error. ^ . 

The Huntington Library copy text (O) is printed in black letter. It has 
both catchwords and two different running titles: A preface to the reader 
and, variant-spelled. The boke/hooke of chyldren. The type size of the preface 
is larger than that of the text. The larger type reappears in the first line of 
the concluding paragraph, beginning "Thus endeth" {J7). 

All substantive press variants will be noted using the following abbre- 

Ol: STC 11969 

02: STC 11970 

03: STC n97\ (Copy text, Neale & Wallis edn.) 

04: STC 1X971 

05: STC 11974 

06: STC 11975 

' According to Davenport, "[W]e do not have the copy of STC 11967, that the 2nd 
edition of STC credits us with— a 1544 edition of Goeurot The regiment oflyfe, lacking a 
title-page. Perhaps the confusion arose because our copy of former STC 11968, now 11966.5, 
was tentatively catalogued in the 1950s as [London, E. Whytchurch, 1544?]. That edition of 
course does not include Phaer's The booke of children." 


Q: STC 11976 

N&W: The Boke ofChyldren, ed. A.V. Neale and Hugh R.E. Wallis 
(Edinburgh: E. & S. Livingstone, 1955). 

27. 9. others: other. 

23. condemne: condempne. 

28. buy: bye. 05: bie. Q: buie. 

28. 13. damnable: dampnable. 

29. 12. Regyment of Lyfe: regyment of lyfe. 

31. 8. tryte: 03-06: true. - 
18. declaration: declation. 

24. faulte: faute. 

32. 7. Aristotle: Aristole. 

33. 26. Parsneppe: Pasneppe. Q: Parsneppe. 

35. 18. Stoppyng of the bellye. Line missing in N&W. 

24. fundament: 03, 04: skynne. 06, Q: skinne. 

38. 5. chafyngdysshe: chafyndysshe. 

39. 19. off: of. 

21. whole: hole. 
26. whole: hole. 
41. 29. dystylle: stylle. 

34. dronken. 03, 05: dronken is exceading good. 

43. 26. xxxvi. 02-06: xxxvii. Q: 37. 

44. 10. reder. Nowe: reder, nowe. 

45. 25. bread: breed. 

29-30. The Regyment of Lyfe: the regyment of lyfe. 

46. 3. Manardus: Manardns. 

47. 35. faulte: faute. 

50. 1-2. nesyng pouder: nesyngpouder. 

20. vertues animall be infebled: 03 provides "be." 

51. 9. There: Ther. 

20. gommes: gonmmes. 

52. 29. ulcers, sores, and woundes. 03: ulcers. 

53. 6. syrynge. Ol, N&W: sprynge. 
11. defaulte: defaute. 

54. 28. compounded: compouned. 
34. tree: tre. 

57. 16. solemne: solempne. 

25. bread: breed. 
59. 28. paste: past. 


29. [it]: 03 provides "it." 

60. 16. afore reherced: aforereherced. 

61. 25. whole: hole. 

62. 19. whole: hole. 

64. 14. iii. houres to iiii.: iiii. houres to iiii. 

66. 30. hotte: whotte. 

67. 6-7. defaulte: defaute. 

33. measels: meas Is. 
70. 33. whole: hole. 

76. 1. Actes of Apostles: actes of apostles. 

77 . 16. The,Booke ofChildeme: the booke of childerne. 
18. The Regimente of Lyfe: the regimente of lyfe. 


ARISTOTLE (384-322 BC). Greek philosopher and empirical scientific 
observer who developed a vast system of analysis covering logic, science, 
ethics, politics, rhetoric, and metaphysics. A student of Plato, he rejected 
Plato's mystical Theory of Forms to argue that form and matter are the 
inseparable constituents of all existing things. 

ARNOLDE DE VILLA NOVA (c.1235-1311). Spanish physician and 
anatomist. A leading medical figure at the University of Montpellier in 
the last decade of the thirteenth century. 

AVICENNA (980-1037). Phaer's "Kyng Avicenne of Arabie" (28) was 
an Islamic philosopher and physician at the courts of Arabian nobility. 
His Canon of Medicine combined Roman and Arabic medical knowl- 
edge, and remained the standard medical text of Europe until the mid- 
seventeenth century. 

AULUS GELLIUS (c.l28-c.l80). Roman author and grammarian. His 
widely-informed Nodes Atticae ranges across such diverse topics as law, 
grammar, religion, philosophy, and science. 

CAMPEGIUS. Symphorien Champier (c. 1472-1539). French physician, 
humanist, historian, and Neoplatonic author. He was founder of the 
Royal College at Lyons and an early European biographer of Avicenna. 

CELIUS. Most likely Caelius Aurelianus, a Latin physician of the fifth 
century who translated Soranus's early work on gynecology. 

CELSUS (c.50 BC-c.lO AD). Learned Roman encyclopedist, perhaps a 
physician, whose lengthy and complex work De Medicina covered a vast 
range of topics, including medical history, preservation of health, char- 
acteristics of inflammation, and the integration of physic and surgery. 


DIOSCORIDES. Most likely a Greek military physician of the first 
century AD, he wrote the first systematic Materia Medica, including 
books on spices, salves, oils, plants, and animal products. His work be- 
came the basis for all future studies in European pharmacology and her- 
bal medicaments. 

FUCHSIUS. Leonhard Fuchs (1501-1566). German botanist and profes- 
sor of medicine at Tubingen. His De Historia Stirpium was an influential 
work on botany, renowned for its artistic merit and accuracy of detail. 
The genus Fuchsia takes its name from him. ' 

GALEN (129-199). Greek physician and anatomist from Pergamum in 
Asia Minor who became court physician in Rome. His voluminous 
medical writings, preserved in Latin translations of Arabic texts, were 
widely influential and authoritative in Renaissance Europe. 

HORACE (65-8 BC). Roman poet, famous for his Satires and didactic 
work, the Art of Poetry {Ars Poetica). 

LEONELLUS. Lionello de Vittori (1450-1520). Italian physician and 
professor of medicine at the University of Bologna. 

MANARDUS. Giovanni Manardi (1462-1536). Physician and professor 
at the University of Ferrara. The 1536 edition of his Epistolae Medici- 
nales included a preface by Rabelais. 

MARSILIUS FICINUS. Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499). Widely influential 
Italian humanist, Neoplatonic intellectual, and physician who, according 
to Phaer, **all men assente to be singularly learned" (28). 

MUSA. Antonius Musa. Roman physician of the first century BC who 
numbered Augustus, Virgil, and Horace among his patients. Neale and 
Wallis note that his De Herha Betonica had been printed at Basel in 1528, 
perhaps accounting for Phaer 's inclusion of him among "the men of 
hyghe learnynge nowe of oure dayes" (29). But Phaer may have in mind 
Antonio Musa Brasavola (1500-1555), a published herbalist and colleague 
of Manardus at Ferrara who, according to Nutton in "Rise of Medical 
Humanism," certainly exerted influence in Phaer's day. 


OTHO BRUNFELSIUS. Otto Brunfels (1464-1534). German monk, 
herbalist, and physician, instructor at the surgical school of Strassburg 
and popularizer of humanistic medicine. His writings include Herharum 
Vivae Eicones and Weiber un Kinder Apothek. 

PAULUS AEGINETA. Paul of Aegina. Alexandrian Greek physician of 
the seventh century AD and author of the widely influential Epitome of 
Medicine based primarily on Galen. 

PHAVORINUS. Favorinus of Aries (c.85-c.l50). Greek philosopher 
and scholastic, born at Aries in present-day France. He travelled widely 
and taught at various locations in Italy, Greece, and Asia. 

PLATO (429-347 BC). Greek philosopher and founder of the Academy 
in Athens. His idealist thought, presented through the Dialogues of Soc- 
rates, profoundly influenced Christian theology and Western philosophy 
in general. 

PLINIUS, PLINIE (24-79). Roman statesman and scholar known as 
Pliny the Elder (Gains Plinius Secundus), he wrote a massive Natural 
History in thirty-seven books. He died of suffocation while observing 
the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. 

RASIS. Rhases (c. 8 50-925). Persian physician and author of many books 
and treatises, especially the work known in Europe as the Almansor. 
Styled by Phaer as "a solemne practicioner among phisicions" (57), 
Rhases was renowned for his empirical sense, spirit of generosity, and 
wide learning. 

RUELLIUS. Jean Ruel (1474-1537). French physician and professor at 
the University of Paris. 

SEBASTIAN OF AUSTRIKE. One of Phaer's "men of hyghe learnynge 
no we of oure dayes*' (29), he reportedly lived in Alsace and wrote a 
commentary on the work of Paul of Aegina. 

SERENUS; Quintus Serenus Sammonicus (d. 212). Learned Roman phy- 
sician, said to have been murdered at a banquet to which he had been 
invited by the emperor Caracalla. His De Medicina Praeceptis is a lengthy 
didactic poem on popular remedies and magical formulae. 


THEOPHRASTUS (370-288 BC). Greek philosopher and student of 
Aristotle, whose scientific researches he continued. The author of two 
botanical treatises, he is best known for his Characters, a collection of 
sketches of psychological types. 

VIGO. Giovanni da Vigo (1460-1525). Italian surgeon, author oi Prac- 
tica Copiosa in arte Chirurgia (1514). Although superseded by the work 
of Ambroise Pare, Vigo was first to describe gunshot wounds and their 

VIRGILL, VIRGIL (70-19 BC). Roman poet. Author of the Eclogues, the 
Georgics, and most especially the Aeneid, which exerted an immense in- 
fluence on later classical and Renaissance literature. Phaer himself refers 
to Virgil as "that devyne Poet" (32), and was the first Englishman to 
attempt a translation of all twelve books of Virgil's Aeneid. 

WILHEL PLACENTINO. William of Saliceto (c.l210-c.l280). Italian 
physician and surgeon who advocated a dynamic combination of both 
faculties in his seminal work Chyrurgia. 

XENOPHON (C.428-C.354 BC). Greek historian and philosopher whose 
historical works include the Anabasis and the Memorabilia, as well as 
treatises on other subjects including politics, war, and horsemanship. 


ALEHOFE. Nepeta. A species of catnip. 

ALOES. Aloe vera. A well known skin-healing gel, also a bitter purgative. 

AMEOS DORONISL (Bishop's weed) Aegopodium. A glaucous annual 
native to the Mediterranean. 

ANTINOMIE. (monkshood, wolfsbane) Aconitum. Many important drugs 
are obtained from this species which can contain strong poisonous alkaloids. 

ANYS or ANISE. A popular fragrant herb native to Egypt and the Medi- 
terranean. Often used as a digestive aid, it was prescribed by Hippocrates 
for coughs. 

BAYE. Laurus nobilis. This popular culinary herb is the classical symbol 
for greatness and reward. It reputedly soothes the stomach, relieves flatu- 
lence, and acts as a healing agent for rheumatism. 

BEAR'S BREECH. Acanthus. Herbaceous perennial; classical decoration 
of Corinthian columns. 

BEETE. Beta vulgaris. Wild beet; ancestor of cultivated edible beets. 

BETONY. Stachys officinalis. Tall European perennial widely popular as 
a medicinal herb and even accorded magical properties. 

BLACKE BURIES. Rubus fruticosus. A widely naturalized berry plant 
native to Great Britain. 


BURSA PASTORIS. Shepherd's purse. 

CAMOMYLLE. Chamaemelum nohile. A popular "strewing" herb in 
medieval England used to freshen air in enclosed rooms. Useful internal 
antispasmodic and external anti-inflammatory, camomile was recom- 
mended by Dioscorides and Pliny for relief of headaches and for dis- 
orders of the kidneys, liver, and bladder. 

CARRETTE or CARROT. Daucus carota^ the popular root vegetable. 

CASTOR. Ricinus communis. Now chiefly a laxative, castor oil was used in 
medieval Europe as a kind of liniment or lubricant. It contains a blood- 
coagulating protein ipciri) which makes unprocessed castor beans highly 

CELIDONYE. Greater Celandine. Chelidonium majus. Of the poppy 
family, this plant contains several alkaloids and has been used as a purga- 
tive, diuretic, diaphoretic, and expectorant. It has been popularly be- 
lieved to cure warts. 

CENTAUR YE. Of the genus Centaurea, this plant is sometimes referred 
to by Phaer as Matfelon. 

CHERITRE. Of the genus Prunus; refers to flowering deciduous trees. 

CHESBOLLE. Papaver somniferum. Opium poppy. 

CICORY or CHICORY. Cichorium intybus. A mild tonic and diuretic. 

CLIMENO. Convolvulus. A genus of the morning glory family; a pur- 
gative described by Dioscorides in his Herbal. 

CLOVES. Syzygium aromaticum. Dried flower buds of tropical ever- 
green, popular for aromatic, flavoring, and mildly anesthetic properties. 

COLOCINTH. Citrullus colocynthus. Also known as bitter-cucumber, 
this gourd of India has purgative medicinal qualities. It may be the wild 
ancestor of the cultivated watermelon. 

COMFERY or COMFREY. Symphytum officinale. Named from the 


Latin conferta, to grow together, this herbaceous perennial reveals dense 
jointure of leaf base and stem upon which leaf is grown. According to 
the medieval "Doctrine of Signatures," such propensity indicates value 
for healing broken bones, sprains, and bruises. 

CORALLINE. Corallina officinalis. A seaweed. 

CORTICUM THXJRIS. Aromatic bark of the desert evergreen Boswel- 
lia, also known as the "Frankincense tree." 

CRESSIS. Lepidium sativum, common garden cress. 

CUCUMBER. Cucumis sativus, common cultivated cucumber. 

CUMMYN or CUMIN. Balsamic and highly flavored seeds of the cumin 
plant {Cuminum cyminum). 

CYNAMOME or CINNAMON. Bark of the cinnamon tree {Cinnamo- 
mum zeylanicum); a pungent, highy flavored astringent, stimulant, and 

DAYSE or DAISY. Bellis perennis; the common old-world "day's eye." 

DOCK. Species of Rumex, high in vitamin C; used to treat scrofula and 
skin problems. 

DRAGAGANT or TRAGACANTH. Medicinal gum of the shrub As- 
tragalus gummifer. 

DYLLE or DILL. Anethum graveolens. A pickling spice, once popular 
medicinally as a carminative; also reputed to relieve babies with colic 
and to increase mother's milk. 

ELDER. An ancient and powerfully medicinal plant of the genus Sam- 
bucus'y the roots, stems, and leaves contain strong cyanogenic glucosides 
that release cyanide. 

ENDIVE. Cichorium endiva. Lettuce-like vegetable plant native to India. 

ERINGIUM. Root of the sea holly {Eryngium maritimum); once popu- 
lar as an aphrodisiac. 


EUPHORBIUM. Gum of the widely diverse Spurge family Euphorbiaceae. 

FENELLE. Foeniculum vulgare. A carminative, mild diuretic, and stimulant, 
fennel is native to the Mediterranean and widely naturalized elsewhere for 
its culinary importance. 

FENUGREKE. Trigonella Foenum-graecum. Widely popular folk cure-all, 
this annual herb of ancient Egypt was introduced to Europe in the ninth 
century by Benedictine monks. 

FETHERFEW or FEVERFEW. Chrysanthemum pathenium. An anti-in- 
flammatory, this herb has been well-documented in connection with relief 
of fever and aid in childbirth. 

FITCHES or VETCPiES. Herbaceous perennials of the species Vicia. 

FLEWORT. A popular name for the genus Erigeron taking in many species 
belonging to the daisy family. 

FLOURDELUYCE or FLEUR-DE-LIS. Of the genus Iris, adopted by 
Louis Vn of France in 1147 as his personal emblem and the heraldic em- 
blem of France. Popular medicinally since ancient times as a mild sedative. 

FRANKENSENCE. Aromatic gum of the desert evergreen genus Boswellia. 

FUMYTORY. Of the genus Fumaria^ esteemed by ancient herbalists as a 
purifier of the blood and other disorders. 

GALEOPSIS. The common English hemp nettle or bastard nettle Galeopsis 

GALINGALE. Aromatic root of East Indian plants of the genera Alpinia 
and Kaempferia, much used in the medicine and cookery of Renaissance 

GINGER. Root of the tropical perennial Zingiber officinale. A mild stimu- 
lant used to soothe indigestion. 

GOURDE. Fruit of the widely-cultivated white-flowered gourd {Lagenaria 
vulgaris) y best known for its decorative and domestic uses. 


GROUNSWELL or GROUNDSEL. Of the popular and widely-distributed 
genus Senecio. 

GUAIACUM. Resin of the Lignum-Vitae {Guaiacum officinale) y a New- 
World tree, distilled for use as an expectorant; once considered effective 
against gout and syphilis. 

GUM ARABIKE. Gum collected from the tropical Acacia tree (Acacia 
nilotica tomentosa). 

HEARTSEASE. Viola tricolor. The pansy known as Johnny-jump-up, na- 
tive of Europe but widely naturalized in North America. 

HENBANE. Hyoscyamus niger. Poisonous member of the nightshade 
family, famed for its medicinal and narcotic effects. 

HOLY HOCKE or HOLLYHOCK. Popular garden perennial Althaea 

HOOREHOUND. Marrubium vulgare. Ancient curative widely used as an 

HORSETAILE. Equisetum. Contains saponin and glycosides, accounting for 
mild diuretic action. 

HOUSELEKE. Sempervivum tectorum. Also called Hen-and-chickens; used 
as a poultice on burns. 

HUMLOCK or HEMLOCK. Conium maculatum. Poisonous, nonwoody 
member of the carrot family. 

HYSOPE or HYSSOP. Hyssopus officinalis. Aromatic perennial used as a 
mild expectorant. 

JEWES EAR. Edible fungus Exidia auricula-judae which grows on the elder 

IPERICON. St-John's-Wort of the family Hypericaceae. Widely distributed 
shrub and subshrub of temperate areas of the northern hemisphere. See also 


KNOTGRASSE. Of the genus Polygonum; widely distributed herbaceous 
plants with swollen-jointed stems. 

LECKE or LEEK. Allium porrum. Milder-flavored relative of the onion. 

LETTUSE. Lactuca sativa. Widely popular salad vegetable. 

LIGNUM ALOES. Wood of the resinous American bursera trees. 

LIGNUM VITAE. Literally "wood of life"; the guaiacum tree. 

LIND. Linden or lime tree of the genus Tilia. 

LIQUIRICE or LICORICE. Taproot of the hardy perennial Glycyrrhiza 
glabra; medicinally varied, including use as a diuretic, demulcent, expecto- 
rant, mild laxative, and antispasmodic. 

LYNESEDE. Seed of the common flax Linum usitatissimum. 

MACES. Product of the n\xlm.Q^Myristicafragrans\ specifically, a spice made 
from the outer coverings of nutmeg seeds. 

MAJORAM or MARJORAM. Origanum vulgare. Widely popular folk 
medicine containing mild antioxidant and antifungal properties. 

MALLOWES. Malva sylvestris. Tall annual, native to temperate and warm 
temperate parts of Europe and naturalized in North America. 

MASTIKE. Gum of the Mediterranean mastic tree Pistacia lentiscus. 

MATFELON. See Centaurye. 

MEDLAR. Fruit of the medlar tree Mespilus germanica, common in Europe 
and southern England. 

MELLILOTE. Tall sweet clover Melilotus officinalis. 

MISTLETOW or MISTLETOE. Semiparasitic clumping shrub {Viscum al- 
bum) of Europe containing toxic proteins. 


MOREL. Common or black nightshade Solanum nigrum. Contains sedative 

MUSCLE. See Mistletow. 

MYNTE. Of the genus Mentha popular as a flavorful carminative and gas- 
tric stimulant. 

MYRRE. Resinous gum of the African shrub Commiphora myrrha. 

NENUPHAR. Water lily of the genus Nymphaea. 

NEPTE or NEPETA. Nepeta cataria. A species of catnip. 

NETTEL. Common stinging nettle {Urtica dioica) of Europe. 

NUTMIGGES or NUTMEG. Seed of the Myristica fragrans. 

ORGANYE. Wild marjoram, Origanum vulgare. A mild tonic and stimu- 

OSMUNDE. European royal fern {Osmunda regalis). 

PARIETARIE OF THE WAL. Parietaria officinalis. A nonstinging relative 
of the nettle renowned by Dioscorides for curing "all manner of inflam- 

PARSNEPPE or PARSNIP. Pastinaca sativa. 

PELLITORY OF SPAYNE. Anacyclus pyrethrum. A prostrate perennial of 
the daisy family native to southeast Europe. 

PEONIE. Paeonia officinalis. Cultivated herbaceous flowering plant named 
for Paion, physician of the gods. Highly regarded in ancient medicine. 

PHILIPENDULA. Dropwort. Filipendula vulgaris. Hardy herbaceous per- 
ennials of the northern hemisphere, their roots bear tuberous buds that 
suggest water or urine drops. Hence its ascribed virtue in releasing urinary 


PLANTAYNE. Plantago major. A sacred herb of the ancient Saxons; now 
a widely-established, even exasperatingly hardy, sub-shrub throughout tem- 
perate regions. Useful as a mild anti-inflammatory. 

POMEGRANARD or POMEGRANATE. Fruit of the deciduous Punica 
granatum, cultivated since antiquity in the Middle East and in warm regions 
of the Mediterranean. 

POPULEON. Balsamic ointment derived from poplar buds and containing 
anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents. 

PURCELANE. Edible weed Portulaca oleracea cultivated since antiquity. 

QUINCE. Fruit of the quince tree Cydonia ohlonga. 

RADYSH or RADISH. Garden vegetable Raphanus sativa. 

RAPE. Old World turnip, Brassica rapa. 

REWE or RUE. Folk antidote and charm, the "Herb of Grace" {Ruta gra- 
veolens) is more popular symbolically than medically. 

ROCKET. Eruca sativa. Hot, highly-flavored salad plant of the Mediter- 
ranean region. 

RYBWOORT. Plantago lanceoLta. Of the plantain family. 

SAFFRON. Crocus sativus. A popular culinary spice, saffron has tradi- 
tionally been used against colds and as an appetite stimulant. 

SAGE. Salvia officinalis. An aromatic culinary herb, sage contains volatile 
oils with antiseptic and astringent properties. 

SAUNDERS. Aromatic sandalwood of the Indian evergreen Santalum 

S A VEIN or SAVJN.Juniperus sahina. Native to central Europe and western 
Asia, the savin juniper contains poisonous oils used to induce abortion. 

SAVERY or SAVORY. Summer {Satureja hortensis) or winter (5. montana) 


variety— either is popular as a cooking spice. Summer savory contains mild 
antiseptic and astringent properties. 

SCABIOUSE. Many varieties of Scahiosa inhabit Europe, Asia, and Africa. 
This hardy herbaceous perennial derives its name from the Latin scabies 
"itch," for which it was thought to be a cure. 

SCOLITOBOTANI. See Coralline. 

SMALLACH. Wild celery {Apium graveolens), the foliage of which was 
probably poisonous. 

SORELL. Rumex acetosa. Cultivated species of dock, used for skin prob- 

SPIKE. Oil of Lavendula spica or English lavender, a popular aromatic and 
cleansing agent. 

SPYKENARDE. Essential oil of the Asian herb Nardostachys jatamansi. 

STAVES ACRE. Larkspur seeds {Delphinium staphisagria), containing pois- 
onous properties. 

TANSIE or TANSY. Tanacetum vulgare. A popular fragrant and medicinal 
plant of the ancients, tansy contains toxic substances. 

TUTSONE. St. John's wort. Hypericum androsaemum. A plant reputed to 
keep men and women chaste, according to medieval authorities. 

TYME or THYME. Thymus vulgaris. Popular culinary herb and folk cure- 

VALERIAN. Valeriana officinalis. Containing carminative and antispas- 
modic properties, valerian is also popular for its tranquilizing effects. 

VERVEYNE or VERVAIN. Verbena offiicinalis. 

VIOLETTES. Species of the genus Viola, especially sweet violet {Viola 
odorata). Once prescribed for disorders such as gout and spleen, the violet 
contains antiseptic and expectorant properties. 


WALWORT. Samhucus ehulus. See Elder. 

WARDEN. An old European variety of pear. 

WATER BETONY. Figwort. Scrophularia aquatica. 

WATER PLANTAYNE. Alisma plantago. 

WORMESEDE. Erysimum cheiranthoides. Once grown as a popular cure 
for worms in children. 

WORMWOOD. Artemisia absinthium. Used since ancient times as a worm- 
ing medicine, wormwood contains thujone, a convulsant poison and 

ZEDOARY. Aromatic root of of the East Indian curcurma plant; turmeric. 


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